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Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse: The Quest for the Quantum Computer

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Just how smart can computers get? Science journalist Julian Brown takes a hard look at the spooky world of quantum computation in Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse--and his report is optimistic. Based in large part on the groundbreaking work of David Deutsch, the book mostly sidesteps the shouting matches of the AI debate and instead explores the history of computation and quantum theory before turning to the exciting advances likely to come out of their merger. While some readers might cringe at the blithe dismissal of classical computing as a relic, Brown shows us why quantum computing is faster and more powerful, and is a good candidate for replacing its predecessor.

The author doesn't pull any mathematical punches, but injects enough humor and personalization into his writing to keep the book from crumbling to dust. Indeed, portraits of such luminaries as Deutsch and Feynman are more engaging than those found in some biographies and are enlightening on their own. But the real power and charm of Brown's prose lie in its straightforward explanation of the arcane details of the multiple-worlds theory, "qubits," and quantum logic in language any informed reader can understand. There are more questions than answers in Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse, but the questions are profoundly satisfying all by themselves. --Rob Lightner

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