Quantum Bayesian Networks

October 24, 2008

Quantum Algorithm Zoo, Or a descent into the bizarre minds of quantum complexity theorists

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 1:22 am

Stephen Jordan has posted here a list of quantum algorithms, his “Quantum Algorithm Zoo”. He has done an excellent job. His site is based on the excellent review by Mosca.

The Quantum Pontiff has commented with regard to the new zoo “Help squash the myth that all there is to quantum algorithms are the algorithms of Shor and Grover”

The bizarre thing about the algorithms in this zoo is that most of them (except for a rare few) solve problems that are not very general. Ouch!

Another bizarre feature about this zoo is that it ignores software completely, as if there were no connection between algorithms and software. (I’m not talking pseudo-code, I’m talking real code.) It seems some people in the quantum information field are wannabe string theorists. They think they are building a new mathematical theory, divorced from a new device, called a quantum computer, a device that will most certainly require software.

As a dumb user of computer algorithms, the best computer algorithm books I have ever read come with real code examples. My first introduction to computer algorithms was the truly wonderful and seminal book by Nijenhuis and Wilf, Combinatorial Algorithms for Computers and Calculators, which way back in the Stone Age of classical computers when it was first published, 1978, already provided full FORTRAN code for all its algorithms. Another book that illustrates my point is Numerical Recipes.

As a comparison to Jordan’s zoo, take a look at Steve Skiena’s excellent website, the Stony Brook Repository of computer algorithms, where the insoluble marriage of algorithms and software is well understood.

Please don’t tell me that quantum computing is too young to expect algorithms with software. I thought Pontiff’s and Mosca’s and Jordan’s point was that quantum computing has come a long way since Shor(1995) and Grover(1996). A long way without software? That’s funny.


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