What has quantum mechanics to do with factoring? NBI Lecture by David Mermin – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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What has quantum mechanics to do with factoring? NBI Lecture by David Mermin

Abstract: Quantum computer science will be introduced in the context of its most sensational algorithm: the highly efficient factoring routine  discovered by Peter Shor. I will emphasize those features of Shor's  procedure that puzzled, surprised, and charmed me in the course of my  own efforts to better understand how it does its magic. The subject  offers some offbeat glimpses of both quantum mechanics and  computation.

About the speaker: David Mermin retired officially in 2006 from his position as professor at Cornell University, USA, which he has held for more than 40 years. This has not prevented him from immersing himself in the subject of quantum computation, on which he has published the recent monograph "Quantum Computer Science" (Cambridge University Press, 2007). His work on quantum computation grew out of a longstanding interest in the foundations of quantum mechanics, to which he has made extensive contributions. His research interests cover a broad range of topics, including density-functional theory, low-dimensional systems, superfluidity and quasicrystals. Together with Neil Ashcroft he is the author of the classic textbook "Solid State Physics" from 1976, which is still being widely used. He is a frequent contributor to the "Reference Frame" columns in Physics Today. David Mermin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize. He is visiting the Niels Bohr International Academy February-May 2009.