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Quantum computing -- theoretical prospects and relations to classical computation

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Note change of lecture theatre

Quantum computing is based on a novel model of computation in which the elementary steps are quantum processes, in contrast to the familiar Boolean operations on bit strings that underlie classical models. As such it is meant to be realistically implementable, and it is known to have dramatic implications for some complexity issues (most famously providing an efficient algorithm for integer factorisation).

In this talk we will introduce the quantum model in a way that emphasises its computational ingredients, generalising some familiar classical notions and providing some intuition for its algorithmic possibilities and limitations. Then we will consider the question of the relationship between quantum and classical computing power. A definitive tool for exploring this issue is the notion of efficient classical simulation of quantum computations. We will outline a variety of recent surprising simulation results, suggesting that the quantum-classical relationship is richly complex and in fact very little understood.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars series.

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