The Quantum Pontiff

Summer Time

Summer doesn’t officially start here in Seattle until the fourth of July, but the summer vibe is definitely here. Which means no teaching, so it’s all research all the time. But a man cannot live by his own research alone, which leads me to the vast brain dump that is the internet.

Things found…


  1. #1 Jonathan Vos Post
    June 30, 2009

    In the best brain-dumping internetty way, connected to your blog title, I’m cross-posting this from Dr. Scott Aaronson’s blog.

    # Jonathan Vos Post Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Comment #37 June 30th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you, John Armstrong — “pontifices” has the right tone indeed, close in semantic/syntactic space to artifices, simplices, polytope faces, … The Pontifex Maximus (which literally means “Greatest Bridge-maker”) was the high priest of the Ancient Roman College of Pontiffs. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. If there was also a Pontifex Minimus, then there was a Lattice of Pontifices. Of course, this also makes on think of Pons Asinorum (Latin for “Bridge of Asses”) for Euclid’s fifth proposition in Book 1 of his Elements of geometry, the theorem on isosceles triangles.

  2. #2 Jon
    June 30, 2009

    just what we need, a two-bit computer… 😛

  3. #3 sep332
    June 30, 2009

    Great, now we can factor numbers up to 3 (does Shor’s algorithm even work for numbers that small?)

  4. #4 Rocky Humbert
    June 30, 2009

    Hi Dave:
    The work in the Chatterbox article is described as being conducted by “a team of Yale theoretical physicists.” I thought theoretical guys only are permitted to use pencils and paper. I guess this is what happens when a theorist gets a box of crayons too. Rocky

  5. #5 Dave Bacon
    July 1, 2009

    Heh, I’d missed the “theoretical physicists” line. Those are fighting words to an experimental physicist!

    sep332: You really need to go to four bit numbers before Shor’s becomes interesting. Shor’s algorithm can be run, I think for N=3, and it will just loop until it spits out that N is prime with high probability.

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