As we get towards the pointier end of computer development the quantum computer emerges as a natural consequence of the application of moores law.
And because it is different the quantum computer is probed and discussed in order to determine what it is, how it works and what it can do.
The shift to quantum allows for the investigation of whether some previously non-computable algorithms (in classical computers) are now computable. But the early indicators are that some are but all are not.
If there are things computers cannot do, but the human brain can do, it begs the question what is the difference?
I was reading this morning about the computational theory of the mind – a hypothesis that our brains work on algorithms that require us to be Turing-like – stepwise, one output leads to the next. Our brain is the operating system and our mind is the program. Nerdish.
There have of course been those that argue this is not the case. Roger Penrose is a vociferous objector and has written books on his theories that our brains works differently. We are non-deterministic and don’t use algorithm at all. One of his ideas is that there are microtubles in our cells that operate using quantum effects. I read a little about this but admit I am non the wiser the web reports are written by esoterics better lent to computer labs than science communication to the lays. I can’t see how the cells affect our thinking – it must be something to do with the chemical messages across neurons, or what not.
Having said that, the point of this bloggish is my interest in the fact that as computers evolve the merging of computation science with other sciences such as biology occurs. It’s like a blending of discipline such that brain scientists and computer scientists get closer in their fields. Fields such as quantum biology become interesting to the programmers. Eventually, maybe, there won’t be separate specialist fields. In the future we won’t have to chose a degree, there will just be one. All sorts. A bit of chemistry, a bit of biology, a bit of math, a bit of psychology… oh and a bit of art for good measure.