Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information
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In Decoding Reality, Vlatko Vedral offers a mind-stretching look at the deepest questions about the universe--where everything comes from, why things are as they are, what everything is.
The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, he writes, but information--and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena. This view allows Vedral to address a host of seemingly unrelated questions: Why does DNA bind like it does? What is the ideal diet for longevity? How do you make your first million dollars? We can unify all through the understanding that everything consists of bits of information, he writes, though that raises the question of where these bits come from. To find the answer, he takes us on a guided tour through the bizarre realm of quantum physics. At this sub-sub-subatomic level, we find such things as the interaction of separated quantum particles--what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance." In fact, Vedral notes, recent evidence suggests that quantum weirdness, once thought to be limited to the tiniest scale, may actually reach into the macro world and make teleportation a real possibility. It is in quantum physics, he writes, that we really can find the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.
Vlatko Vedral is one of the key researchers in quantum science. In this book, he offers a mind-bending account of this leading-edge field.
not have to bet in a casino. You could invest your money into companies. The smaller, less known, and less likely a company is to succeed (given prevailing market conditions and business strategy), the more money you will get in return if it does succeed (for a ﬁ xed investment). This ‘smells’ very much like what we said of information: the smaller the probability of an event, the larger its information gain and in this case the larger the information the larger the payoff should be. Shannon’s
an atmosphere provides a medium for transport of matter that is crucial for living processes to take place. The Earth and the Moon share the second place for the highest entropy production, which is roughly a quarter that of Mercury. The Moon again has virtually no atmosphere (it is gravitationally too weak to attract atoms to its surface) and this makes it difﬁcult to have life. The rest of the planets and moons have entropy production far lower (Mars is fourth with two-thirds of the entropy
Constantino Tsallis. Why is wealth not additive? As we have seen, having some wealth 108 DECODING RE ALIT Y and gaining more does not just result in the sum of the two. Wealth does not just simply add, it super-adds! This is another view of the principle of increasing returns in economics (which we met in Chapter 6). There is no contradiction here, since wealth is not a conserved quantity. It can be created out of nothing (by nothing I mean ‘no initial wealth’; I do not mean without any
continually shrinking size of circuitry packed onto silicon chips would eventually reach a point where individual elements would be no larger than a few atoms. Then what? Where do we go from there? How small and fast can computers be? Surely, however, there is a natural limitation to this exponential growth. At the moment we are using about 100 electrons to encode one bit of information. But in about 10 years time, we may be using one electron to encode one bit of information. Can we go beyond
date that quantum information does indeed provide the underlying description of reality. The modern view of gravity, through Einstein’s general relativity, is to see it as a curvature of space and time. In everyday language you may be more aware of it as a universal force of attraction, like when you throw a ball into the air and it comes back down. Einstein’s view is, however, the most general and accurate description of gravity. In this view, time and space are inseparable and both curved