You are on page 1of 48

Simulating Physics with Computers

Richard Feynman, 1982
Michael Demmer, Rodrigo Fonseca, Farinaz Koushanfar UC Berkeley, Fall 2004

Richard Feynman
• Was born on May 11, 1918, in Brooklin. Moved to Far Rockaway, New York, at 10. • His father Melville Feynman
– Was influential in his career and formed the essence of Feynman’s way of understanding – Taught him to question things around him and to try to find explanations

I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there. ~ Richard Feynman

Early Portraits

• • • • Met Arline Greenbaum in high school Attended MIT (1935-1939) Moved to Princeton for his PhD in 1939 Proposed to Arline in Princeton, planned marriage after PhD • Arline was positively diagnosed with tuberculosis, they got married immediately • US entered World War in December 1941

~ Feynman.. so you cannot see her faults”. it is only possible if you do not know much about her.Young Days "(. about the idea that led to his Nobel prize . And..)the idea seemed so obvious to me and so elegant that I fell deeply in love with it. like falling in love with a woman.

in 1942 to work on the Manhattan project • In July of 1945. he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.Manhattan Project • His PhD @ Princeton: – the probability of a transition of a quantum from one state to some subsequent state – Entirely new formalism in quantum mechanics. ~ J. Arline passed away He is by all odds the most brilliant young physicist here [at Los Alamos]. shared with Schwinger and Tomonaga (1965) • Moved to Los Alamos. adapted it to the physics of QED – For this. NM. and everyone knows this. Robert Oppenheimer .

~ Richard Feynman .Professorship • Immediately accepted a job at Cornell • Moved to Caltech in 1950. was assigned the lectures in physics that took him 3 years • In 1960. Feynman received the Nobel Prize for his work in QED If I could explain it to the average person. married 2nd wife • In the early 1960s. Gweneth • In 1965. I wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize. married to 3rd wife.

and you can have no idea how they do it. Feynman was a magician. but they leave you room to believe that you could do the same if only you worked hard enough. Ordinary geniuses do great things. ~ Hans Bethe .At Caltech… There are two types of genius. Then there are magicians.

• Made a breakthrough in the physics of the superfluidity of super cold liquid helium – Helium shows quantum mechanical behavior at macroscopic scales • Worked on "weak decay". so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry. and an anti-neutrino w/ Murray Gell-Mann – Shared the results w Marshak and Sudarshan Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns. ~ Richard Feynman . in the decay of a free neutron into an electron.. a proton.More Richard Feynman.

Mr. 15. 1988 I would hate to die twice. ~ Feynman’s last words . Feynman!“ – "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" both published by Ralph Leighton • Investigated Challenger accident in 1986 • Feynman passed away on Feb.Late Richard Feynman • In 1979. It’s so boring. Feynman became very popular – "Surely You're Joking. he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer growing in his abdomen • In 1980s.

..A curious character. .

Feynman collected stamps from Tuva • Tuva!? – Ralph Leighton.“What Happened to Tanna Tuva?” • As a boy. Friends of Tuva • Kyzyl was a center for nuclear research • Interesting culture – Center of Asia – Famous throat singers – Feynman is a hero in Tuva • Ended up never going there! .

and was part of a local samba club! . teaching physics at a university in Rio • Learned portuguese • Learned to play samba.Brazil • He spent two periods in Brazil.

Yours. Theoretical physics is a human endeavor. Feyman’s reply: Dear Sir.Drums In 1966 a Swedish encyclopedia publisher asked for a picture of Feynman "beating the drum" to give "a human approach to a presentation of the difficult matter that theoretical physics represents". I am human enough to tell you to go to hell. and the perpetual desire to prove that people who do it are human by showing that they do other things that a few other humans do (like playing bongo drums) is insulting to me. The fact that I beat a drum has nothing to do with the fact that I do theoretical physics. RPF . one of the higher developments of human beings.

• Supervised “computers” – “The only difference is that the IBM machines didn’t get tired and could work three shifts.” ~ After meeting Niels Bohr . I was always worried about the physics. I never knew who I was talking to. I said it looked lousy. and the possibility that they would develop it before we did was very much of a fright”. If the idea looked lousy. But the girls got tired after a while” • Lock picking “I was always dumb in that way.Los Alamos • Motivation – “The Germans had Hitler and the possibility of developing an atomic bomb was obvious.

bought new and outfitted in Long Beach • Had Feynman’s diagrams painted • Sold for $1 to Leighton.Feynman’s Van • 1975 Dodge Tradesman Maxivan. who used it to transport visiting Tuvan throat singers! .

M.Challenger • “Dr. for nature cannot be fooled”. reality must take precedence over public relations. ~ Final words of the Challenger report . the most personally and professionally objective member and I might add the ONLY fearless member concerning potential career damage”. and found out the O ring which was the culprit for the explosion. in my opinion. “For a successful technology.Thiokol Engineer • Feynman went directly to the engineers. Roger M. Boisjoly. Feynman was.

.There’s much more... • His books are a great read.... . • Mayan hieroglyphs • Drawing • Advice on getting women at bars.

Okay. because I’m an old enough man that I haven’t gotten to the point that this stuff is obvious to me. At least I do.Feynman on Quantum Mechanics “(secret. close the doors!) we have always had a great deal of difficult in understanding the world view that quantum mechanics represents. I still get nervous with it.” . secret.

Quantum Effects light source detector 2 • A weak light source is set up to point at a sensitive detector that ‘clicks’ when individual photons are detected • Light acts like a particle: dimmer light reduces frequency not amplitude of detections • But other experiments (e. double slit interference) show that light behaves like a wave .g.

Quantum Effects (2) detector 1 light source half-silvered mirror detector 2 • When a half-silvered mirror is placed in the path. ! of the photons pass through the mirror and ! are reflected. – Therefore photons are detected at each location with equal probability • But how does it “know” which way to go? – Newton had a hard time explaining this • And where is the photon immediately after passing through the mirror? .

and others to pass through the mirror? – Or does each photon actually go both ways at the same time… .Quantum Effects (3) light source full mirror half-silvered mirror detector 1 detector 2 • Now force the split beams back together. then send through another half-silvered mirror – Classical mechanics would predict that again 50% would be detected at each location • Instead all the photons are detected at one location! – Somehow it “knows” that it shouldn’t go to detector 2 – Are some photons are pre-disposed to reflect.

Quantum Effects (4) light source full mirror half-silvered mirror detector 1 detector 2 • When one path is blocked. each photon is in a coherent superposition of the two states – The state is only fully determined when it is measured. then strange things really start… • The probability is again evenly split among the two detectors – The photon must take both paths at the same time (or go back in time) • Once it passes through the first mirror. which destroys the superposition and forces it one way or the other .

or a polarized photon • When measured. a superposition is used as the fundamental unit of data. an atom. called a qubit – e. assigning one spin to 0 and the other to 1 • But until it’s measured.From Bits to Qubits • In a quantum computer.g. or nuclear spin. a qubit is in only one of two states – Represented in Dirac notation as a ket: for example the state of a spin ! particle is measured as |+!! (spin up) or |-!! (spin down) – Can be used as digits. a qubit is actually in a combination of state 0 and state 1 – The probability distribution cannot be measured directly – But. it can be used in computation… .

|x! = a|0! + b|1! and |a|2 + |b|2 = 1 – So a and b define the angle which the qubit makes with the vertical axis and therefore the probability that the given bit will be measured as a 0 or as a 1 – There’s also the phase which represents an angle of rotation around the vertical axis » Doesn’t affect the value of the bit. b s.t.From Bits to Qubits (2) • A bit of mathematical formalism: – A qubit is a unit state vector in a two dimensional Hilbert space where |0! and |1! are orthonormal basis vectors – For each qubit |x! there exist two (complex) numbers a. but is crucial for quantum interference effects .

the register stores all 8 values at once. rotation: |0! " cos"|0! + sin"|1!. with a probability distribution on the set of values • Still. these values are in a superposition – So in effect. |1! " -sin"|0! + cos"|1! • Evolutions operate without measuring the value of a qubit – Thus it creates a new superposition – Essentially performs a parallel computation on all the values at once . register of 3 physical qubits can store 23 = 8 values – Of course.Qubit evolution • Similar to a classical register. it is forced into one of the two states • The quantum analog to a classical operator is an evolution – Transforms an input by some process to an output register – E. a qubit contains no more information than a classical bit – The reason is that once you measure the value.g.

then this probability is either 0 or 1! – This is called entanglement – Not all states are entangled.Measurement and Entanglement • Quantum states cannot be cloned – Measuring forces a superposition it into state 0 or state 1 – Seems “bad” for most general computing purposes – But is pretty useful if you’re trying to communicate a secret key… • Measuring one bit can affect another – Consider a two bit system: (1/#2) (|00! + |11!) – Although the probability that the first bit is |0! is 1/2. once the second bit is measured. (1/#2)(|00! + |01!) • Measuring can even kill the cat – Shrödinger described: |cat! = (1/#2) (|dead! + |alive!) .g. e.

the applications are constrained to multi-party communications. not related to internal mechanics of a computer • Quantum Computers – Quantum computations turn out to be very sensitive to noise in the environment – A natural fit for error correction codes – Thus a deeper relationship is likely to exist between Information Theory and Quantum Computing than in the classical case . theoretically irrelevant to the computations • Shannon and Information Theory – Principles of error correction over a communication channel lead to a new field – Still.Error control codes • Turing machines – Classical computers are based around assumptions (rightly) that values can be measured and manipulated reliably – Though implementations may require energy input to maintain state.

Toffoli. Fredkin.g. etc. shows that any computation is reversible. i. apply these ideas to general computation – 1973: Bennett.(Pre)History of Quantum Computing • Thermodynamics and Computation – 1871: Maxwell’s Demon – 1929: Szilard reduces the problem to particle identification (and introduces the concept of a “bit” of information but not the term) – 1961: Landauer shows that erasure of information is dissipative and therefore irreversable – 1970s: Bennett. Toffoli replacement for a NAND gate) – 1982: Bennett applies to Maxwell’s demon showing it requires energy to erase its memory . no entropy cost (e.e.

Dalibard. claim it to be a hole in the theory » “God does not play dice with the universe” – 1964: Bell analyzes EPR conundrum and proposes that no hidden variable theory can reproduce quantum theory predictions – therefore nonlocal interactions can exist – 1982: Aspect.(Pre)History of Quantum Computing • Quantum links to Information Theory – 1935: Einstein. Rosen describe gedanken experiment in which quantum experiments suggest effects at a distance. Roger support Bell’s theorem showing that any interaction must travel faster than the speed of light . Podolsky.

Quantum Mechanics / Information Theory \ .

History of Quantum Computing • 1980: Benioff describes a hybrid Turing machine that stores qubits on the tape • 1982: Feynman considers simulation of quantum systems by a quantum computer • 1984: Albert describes a 'self measuring quantum automaton' that performs tasks no classical computer can simulate • 1982-4: Weisner. Bennett examine quantum key exchange • 1985: Deutsch specifies and describes a universal quantum computer • 1993: Simon describes oracle problem for which quantum computers are exponentially faster than classical ones • 1994: Shor describes quantum algorithm for efficient factorization of large numbers • 1995: Shor proposes quantum error correction • 1997: Bernstein. Vazirani on quantum complexity theory • 1998: First working 2-qbit NMR computer at UCB • 2001: 7-qubit NMR computer at IBM Almaden executes Shor’s algorithm to factor the number 15 .

Fredkin Toffoli – Possibilities in computers and possibilities in Physics! Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.Possibilities in Computer and Possibilities in Physics • Can quantum physics be simulated by a universal computer? • Modifying the physical laws may cause anisotropies • Early conception: natural laws are reversible but physical laws are not! – Computer reversibility: Bennet. ~ Richard Feynman .

assume time is discrete • Simulating time in cellular automata: – The computer is going from a state to a state – It is not simulated! It is imitated! • Is there a way to simulate rather than imitate? .Simulating Time • Rule of simulation: Number of computer elements must be proportional to the spacetime volume of the physical system • For simulation.

k in its neighborhood. causal and reversible… . sk. that is a function of future vars… • How to choose numbers to satisfy equations? • Classical physics is local. …. Si = Fi (sm.) • What if F depends on both future and the past? • Suppose that you now Fi.Space-Time Example Sm Time Si Sk Space • State si is a function of states m.

• For N space points ! NR! Exponential!!! .xR at time t. IMPOSSIBLE! • If we have R particles.Simulating Probability • We have difficulty in understanding quantum mechanical view of the world! • One way to simulate a probabilistic theory is to calculate the probability and interpret this number to represent nature! • Problem with discretizing probability. we need k-digits for every configuration x1. ….

but… nature is unpredictable: • Take a Monte Carlo simulation approach! • Local probabilistic computer: – Determine the behavior in one region by disregarding the events in other regions! .Probabilistic Computer • Simulate the probabilistic nature by a probabilistic computer • Imitating.

w/ probability P{si}.Probability of Transition • If each point i=1. it’s a probability .s’h.N in space has state si. at each time: • Pt+1({s})=$ [ %i m(si|s’k.…. m becomes less sensitive to s’k – Probability of making a transition – The same as cellular automata.…)] Pi({s’}) • As k moves far from i. instead of being definite.

& is a function of x and t and we can use a probabilistic eq. • Full description of quantum mechanics for a large system w/ R particles cannot be simulated in polynomial time in R or N! • There are two ways to go around this: – Let the computer itself be built by quantum mechanical elements that obey quantum rules – Can we imitate this on a universal computer? .How to simulate quantum mechanical effects? • For a single particle.

different from a Turing machine • You could imitate any quantum system • Leaves open: to work out classes of intersimulatable quantum systems .Quantum simulators • He proposes the idea of a quantum computer.

you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it.Polarization of Photons if you're doing an experiment.. ..

Two state systems • Each photon either goes to the O or E detectors – Only one detector – P(O) + P(E) = 1 .

sin2' = cos2' • All right so far… . P(O|E) = 1 . only one detector is triggered – P(O|O) = cos2'.cos2' = sin2' – P(E|E) = sin2'.Two state systems • For each photon. P(E|O) = 1 .

" into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. if you can possible avoid it. Nobody knows how it can be like that. .Two photon correlation • One atom emits two photons simultaneously • Two detectors at '1 and '2 • By Quantum theory and experiment – POO = PEE = ! cos2('2 . "But how can it [Quantum behaviour] be like that?" because you will get "down the drain.'1) • You can always predict what I get: – set '2 = '1 ( POE = PEO = 0 Do not keep saying to yourself.'1) – POE = PEO = ! sin2('2 .

Two photon correlation • It turns out you can’t simulate this on a local probabilistic computer .

squeeze into a numerical question .... • Suppose '2 . yield cos2(30º) = # ! . what’s the probability that get the same result? • In this case. it’s <= 2/3 • But quantum mechanics. and experiment.. it’s 2/3 • For all possible 8 configurations.'1=30º..

.) see if you can’t invent a different point of view than the physicists have had to invent (..) you people who think about computersimulation possibilities (.. • “This kind of logic” cannot reproduce this result – Things could be affected by the future as well – Instantaneous communication (non-local) – Origin of quantum probabilities: maybe we are correlated with any experiment we do • “(...)” – Thinking of computation has led to progress in other areas .So....

” . Thank you. Someone will build a functional quantum computer After years of repeated roadblocks and failed efforts. “…and if you want to make a simulation of nature. 2.Future of Quantum Computing (according to Christos) 1. the field will fizzle out and die Continued work into QC will lead to a fundamental change in the understanding of quantum mechanics itself. 3. because it doesn’t look so easy. you’d better make it quantum mechanical. and by golly it’s a wonderful problem.