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David Deutsch, Hennessey & Patterson (short form), and Jeff Dean

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David Albert, 12 Aug 2011, The New York Times, Explaining it All: How We Became the Center of the Universe, here. My son told me this is solid, and he was right.

David Deutsch’s “Beginning of Infinity” is a brilliant and exhilarating and profoundly eccentric book. It’s about everything: art, science, philosophy, history, politics, evil, death, the future, infinity, bugs, thumbs, what have you. And the business of giving it anything like the attention it deserves, in the small space allotted here, is out of the question. But I will do what I can.

It hardly seems worth saying (to begin with) that the chutzpah of this guy is almost beyond belief, and that any book with these sorts of ambitions is necessarily, in some overall sense, a failure, or a fraud, or a joke, or madness. But Deutsch (who is famous, among other reasons, for his pioneering contributions to the field of quantum computation) is so smart, and so strange, and so creative, and so inexhaustibly curious, and so vividly intellectually alive, that it is a distinct privilege, notwithstanding everything, to spend time in his head. He writes as if what he is giving us amounts to a tight, grand, cumulative system of ideas — something of almost mathematical rigor — but the reader will do much better to approach this book with the assurance that nothing like that actually turns out to be the case. I like to think of it as more akin to great, wide, learned, meandering conversation — something that belongs to the genre of, say, Robert Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy” — never dull, often startling and fantastic and beautiful, often at odds with itself, sometimes distasteful, sometimes unintentionally hilarious, sometimes (even, maybe, secondarily) true.

David Deutsch and Richard Jozsa, 1992, The Royal Society, Rapid solution of problems by quantum computation, here.

A class of problems is described which can be solved more efficiently by quantum computation than by any classical or stochastic method. The quantum computation solves the problem with certainty in exponentially less time than any classical deterministic computation.

David Deutsch, 1985, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Quantum Theory, the Church-Turing principle and the universal quantum computer, here.

It is argued that underlying the Church-Turing hypothesis there is an implicit physical assertion. Here, this assertion is presented explicitly as a physical prin- ciple: ‘every finitely realizable physical system can be perfectly simulated by a universal model computing machine operating by finite means’. Classical physics and the universal Turing machine, because the former is continuous and the latter discrete, do not obey the principle, at least in the strong form above. A class of model computing machines that is the quantum generalization of the class of Tur- ing machines is described, and it is shown that quantum theory and the ‘universal quantum computer’ are compatible with the principle. Computing machines re- sembling the universal quantum computer could, in principle, be built and would have many remarkable properties not reproducible by any Turing machine. These do not include the computation of non-recursive functions, but they do include ‘quantum parallelism’, a method by which certain probabilistic tasks can be per- formed faster by a universal quantum computer than by any classical restriction of it. The intuitive explanation of these properties places an intolerable strain on all interpretations of quantum theory other than Everett’s. Some of the numerous connections between the quantum theory of computation and the rest of physics are explored. Quantum complexity theory allows a physically more reasonable definition of the ‘complexity’ or ‘knowledge’ in a physical system than does clas- sical complexity theory.

HPCWire, 17 Apr 2018,  Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age fo Computer Architecture, here.

What an exciting time to be a computer architect!

1. Carver Mead, and Lynn Conway. “Introduction to VLSI systems,” Addison-Wesley, 1980.

2. Mark Hill. “A Primer on the Meltdown & Spectre Hardware Security Design Flaws and their Important Implications,” Computer Architecture Today Blog, February 15, 2018,https://www.sigarch.org/ a-primer-on-the-meltdown-spectre-hardware-security-design-flaws-and-their-important-implications.

3. John L. Hennessy, and David A. Patterson. “Domain Specific Architectures,” in Computer architecture: a quantitative approach, Sixth Edition, Elsevier, 2018.

4. Norman P. Jouppi, Cliff Young, Nishant Patil, David A. Patterson, et al. “In-datacenter performance analysis of a Tensor Processing Unit,” in Proc. 44th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, pp. 1-12. ACM, 2017.

5. Luis Ceze, Mark Hill, Karthikeyan Sankaralingam, and Thomas Wenisch. “Democratizing Design for Future Computing Platforms,” June 26, 2017, www.cccblog.org/2017/06/26/democratizing-design-for-future-computing-platforms.

6. www.riscv.org.

7. DARPA, Broad Agency Announcement. “Electronics Resurgence Initiative,” September 13, 2017.

8. Yunsup Lee, Andrew Waterman, Henry Cook, Brian Zimmer, et al. “An agile approach to building RISC-V microprocessors,” IEEE Micro 36, no. 2 (2016): 8-20.<

9. David A. Patterson, and Borivoje Nikolić. “Agile Design for Hardware, Parts I, II, III,” EE Times, July 27 to August 3, 2015.

Tom Simonite, 18 Apr,2018, Wired, Google’s new AI Head is so Smart he doesn’t need AI, here.  Recent 24 Apr 2018 Princeton CS talk, here.

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