On the (Im)possibility of Scalable Quantum Computing

Abstract

The potential for scalable quantum computing depends on the viability of fault tolerance and quantum error correction, by which the entropy of environmental noise is removed during a quantum computation to maintain the physical reversibility of the computer’s logical qubits. However, the theory underlying quantum error correction applies a linguistic double standard to the words “noise” and “measurement” by treating environmental interactions during a quantum computation as inherently reversible, and environmental interactions at the end of a quantum computation as irreversible measurements. Specifically, quantum error correction theory models noise as interactions that are uncorrelated or that result in correlations that decay in space and/or time, thus embedding no permanent information to the environment. I challenge this assumption both on logical grounds and by discussing a hypothetical quantum computer based on “position qubits.” The technological difficulties of producing a useful scalable position-qubit quantum computer parallel the overwhelming difficulties in performing a double-slit interference experiment on an object comprising a million to a billion fermions.

Author's Profile

Andrew Knight
New York University

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-11-07

Downloads
447 (#18,763)

6 months
92 (#7,418)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?