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On the (Im)possibility of Scalable Quantum Computing

Knight, Andrew (2021) On the (Im)possibility of Scalable Quantum Computing. [Preprint]


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The potential for scalable quantum computing depends on the viability of fault tolerance and quantum error correction, by which the entropy of environmental noise is removed during a quantum computation to maintain the physical reversibility of the computer’s logical qubits. However, the theory underlying quantum error correction applies a linguistic double standard to the words “noise” and “measurement” by treating environmental interactions during a quantum computation as inherently reversible, and environmental interactions at the end of a quantum computation as irreversible measurements. Specifically, quantum error correction theory models noise as interactions that are uncorrelated or that result in correlations that decay in space and/or time, thus embedding no permanent information to the environment. I challenge this assumption both on logical grounds and by discussing a hypothetical quantum computer based on “position qubits.” The technological difficulties of producing a useful scalable position-qubit quantum computer parallel the overwhelming difficulties in performing a double-slit interference experiment on an object comprising a million to a billion fermions.

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Item Type: Preprint
Knight, Andrewaknight@nyu.edu0000-0003-0274-1681
Keywords: quantum computer; scalable quantum computing; measurement problem; fault tolerant quantum error correction; quantum decoherence; double slit interference experiment
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information > Quantum
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Dr. Andrew Knight
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2021 04:58
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 04:58
Item ID: 19825
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information > Quantum
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 7 November 2021

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