Quantum Bayesian Networks

June 9, 2011

Mark Wilde’s Magnum Opus

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 3:53 am

As I discussed in a previous post, the field of quantum SIT (Shannon Information Theory) has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last two decades. Recently, I’ve been studying quantum SIT for my research. I have found the early versions of Mark Wilde’s quantum SIT book, which he has been posting at his website under the Creative Commons License, to be really useful, truly pivotal to my research. And tonight, he has released his magnificent, monumental book (about 650 pages! hot dog!) on ArXiv.

From Classical to Quantum Shannon Theory, by Mark M. Wilde, arXiv:1106.1445

Oliver Heaviside was a giant in his field. He invented a large fraction of what we learn today in a modern ElectroMagnetism course. One of his many contributions to that field was to recast Maxwell’s equations from the original way Maxwell wrote them, as 20 quaternion equations, to the 4 div and curl equations that we use today. (If you’ve never seen them and are curious to do so, this article has a picture of the original 20 quaternion equations).

Heaviside got ahold of a copy of Maxwell’s treatise while it was still hot off the press, and it was a revelation to him. From the Wikipedia article on Heaviside:

In 1873 Heaviside had encountered James Clerk Maxwell’s newly published, and today famous, two-volume Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. In his old age Heaviside recalled:

I remember my first look at the great treatise of Maxwell’s when I was a young man… I saw that it was great, greater and greatest, with prodigious possibilities in its power… I was determined to master the book and set to work. I was very ignorant. I had no knowledge of mathematical analysis (having learned only school algebra and trigonometry which I had largely forgotten) and thus my work was laid out for me. It took me several years before I could understand as much as I possibly could. Then I set Maxwell aside and followed my own course. And I progressed much more quickly… It will be understood that I preach the gospel according to my interpretation of Maxwell.[4]

Maybe this bit of history will repeat itself. Maybe you will fall in love with Mark Wilde’s excellent book while it is still hot off the e-press, and you will decide to devote your life to the study of quantum SIT.


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