Lloyd, a professor at MIT, works in the vanguard of research in quantum computing: using the quantum mechanical properties of atoms as a computer. He contends that the universe itself is one big quantum computer producing what we see around us, and ourselves, as it runs a cosmic program. According to Lloyd, once we understand the laws of physics completely, we will be able to use small-scale quantum computing to understand the universe completely as well. In his scenario, the universe is processing information. The second law of thermodynamics (disorder increases) is all about information, and Lloyd spends much of the book explaining how quantum processes convey information. The creation of the universe itself involved information processing: random fluctuations in the quantum foam, like a random number generator in a computer program, produced higher-density areas, then matter, stars, galaxies and life. Lloyd's hypothesis bears important implications for the red-hot evolution–versus–intelligent design debate, since he argues that divine intervention isn't necessary to produce complexity and life. Unfortunately, he rushes through what should be the climax of his argument. Nevertheless, Lloyd throws out many fascinating ideas. (For another take on information theory, see Decoding the Universe on p.53.) 12 b&w illus.
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*Starred Review* Lloyd's specialty in physics is the hot topic of quantum information. And his book may do for quantum information what Brian Greene did for strings (The Elegant Universe, 1999) and Stephen Hawking did for spacetime (A Brief History of Time, 1988): popularize a far-out scientific frontier. Will Lloyd's listeners have the same head-scratching reactions as his MIT students do on their first encounter with the idea that information is a quantifiable physical value, as much as mass or motion? Or with the proposition that any physical system--a river, you, the universe--is a quantum mechanical computer? Not if they've read his book, which offers brilliantly clarifying explanations of the "bit," the smallest unit of information; how bits change their state; and how changes-of-state can be registered on atoms via quantum-mechanical qualities such as "spin" and "superposition." Putting readers in the know about quantum computation, Lloyd then informs them that it may well be the answer to physicists' search for a unified theory of everything. Exploring big questions in accessible, comprehensive fashion, Lloyd's work is of vital importance to the general-science audience. Gilbert Taylor
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Take a motorcycle and smash it into clean subatomic particles. Do you think the particles could ever restore the bike? A computer needs to have an end result. Read morePublished 2 months ago by R. A POKATILOFF
Digital physics has launched successfully with Programming the Universe by Seth Lloyd. All the other pseudoscientist who have merely attempted to delve into this new science, pack... Read morePublished 9 months ago by J. Driessen
This book is very insightful and engaging. He links entropy and information in a novel and intuitive manner. The book is not perfect, but it is worth it.Published 9 months ago by Sami Al Suwailem
I love listening to Seth on Youtube, computational universe theory, free will, 'rebooting the cosmos etc! Read morePublished 14 months ago by william
This book was filled with technical jargon. It was not written for the average layman. I've read much better books by other authors in this genre. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Marquesa
This book has a lot of information in it that pertains to the latest research in computer science. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to read it! Read morePublished 20 months ago by BPuser
This work has the right idea but fails to find low entropy matter ( e.g.dark matter ) as a reservoir of extra information needed to calculate the next stage of Universe ( as in... Read morePublished on July 22, 2013 by Ivars Fabriciuss
I agree with those readers who say that the book is very long for what it contains. It is also full with personal life details which are not so important to be reported to the... Read morePublished on January 15, 2013 by Book Lover
This is what I wrote to Professor Lloyd:
Just finished reading Programming the Universe. It was very enlightening and enjoyable experience. Read more