May 4, 2012

Simplicity and (quantum) complexity

(May 3, 2012)  Simulations of reality would require less memory on a quantum computer than on a classical computer, new research from scientists at the University of Bristol, published in Nature Communications, has shown.

The study by Dr Karoline Wiesner from the School of Mathematics and Centre for Complexity Sciences, together with researchers from the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, demonstrates a new way in which computers based on quantum physics could beat the performance of classical computers.

When confronted with a complicated system, scientists typically strive to identify underlying simplicity which is then articulated as natural laws and fundamental principles.  However, complex systems often seem immune to this approach, making it difficult to extract underlying principles.

Researchers have discovered that complex systems can be less complex than originally thought if they allow quantum physics to help: quantum models of complex systems are simpler and predict their behaviour more efficiently than classical models.