Post details: Quantum Superpositions

07/22/04

Permalink 01:01:41 am, Categories: Computers, 281 words  

Quantum Superpositions

I went to a most interesting talk tonight at University of Ottawa, Quantum Superpositions, by Damian Conway. I was a little worried, not being a physics type, but he held everyone's attention for nearly 3 hours, which is quite a feat. He threw in a large number of jokes and references that required an agile mind to keep up with. I'm sure I missed a few things too.

It's always inspiring to listen to someone who has a total mastery of a subject.

The first part of the talk was on quantum physics, at a very abstract level. Then he moved into discussion of this Quantum::Superpositions perl module that he has written and different problems that could be solved with it. The module introduces a couple of new operators to perl, "any" and "all". Each takes a list as its argument. any returns true if any of its values make the statement true, so any(1,2,3) == 1 is true. all returns true if the statement is true for all of its values, so something like 0 <= all(1,2,3) is true. These operators are (by the sounds of things, knowing zilch about physics myself) abstractions of a quantum superposition.

The operators are also useful for non-physics-related problems and thus they will be included in Perl 6, along with a couple of other operators, none and one, which are true, respectively, if zero or one of the items in the list make the statement true. I have a feeling that these operators will become a regular part of my regular Perl 6 vocabulary, whenever that comes out.

Anyway, a most enjoyable evening, and I would highly recommend this talk to anyone who has a chance to see it.

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