David Deutsch

David Deutsch

Overview
David Elieser Deutsch, FRS (born 1953 in Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

) is an Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i-British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 at the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

. He is a non-stipendiary Visiting Professor in the Department of Atomic and Laser Physics at the Centre for Quantum Computation
Centre for Quantum Computation
The Centre for Quantum Computation or CQC is an alliance of quantum information research groups at the University of Oxford. It was founded by Artur Ekert in 1998....

 (CQC) in the Clarendon Laboratory
Clarendon Laboratory
The Clarendon Laboratory, located on Parks Road with the Science Area in Oxford, England , is part of the Physics Department at Oxford University...

 of the University of Oxford. He pioneered the field of quantum computation by being the first person to formulate a description for a quantum Turing machine
Quantum Turing machine
A quantum Turing machine , also a universal quantum computer, is an abstract machine used to model the effect of a quantum computer. It provides a very simple model which captures all of the power of quantum computation. Any quantum algorithm can be expressed formally as a particular quantum...

, as well as specifying an algorithm designed to run on a quantum computer.
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Quotations

Surely it is more interesting to argue about what the truth is, than about what some particular thinker, however great, did or did not think.

Our best theories are not only truer than common sense, they make more sense than common sense...

The truly privileged theories are not the ones referring to any particular scale of size or complexity, nor the ones situated at any particular level of the predictive hierarchy—but the ones that contain the deepest explanations.

The overwhelming majority of theories are rejected because they contain bad explanations, not because they fail experimental tests.

The quantum theory of parallel universes is not the problem, it is the solution. It is not some troublesome, optional interpretation emerging from arcane theoretical considerations. It is the explanation—the only one that is tenable—of a remarkable and counter-intuitive reality. (Ch. 2)

Reality contains not only evidence, but also the means (such as our minds, and our artefacts) of understanding it. There are mathematical symbols in physical reality. The fact that it is we who put them there does not make them any less physical. (Ch.3)

Think of all our knowledge-generating processes, our whole culture and civilization, and all the thought processes in the minds of every individual, and indeed the entire evolving biosphere as well, as being a gigantic computation. The whole thing is executing a self-motivated, self-generating computer program. More specifically it is, as I have mentioned, a virtual-reality program in the process of rendering, with ever-increasing accuracy, the whole of existence.

It is possible to build a virtual-reality generator whose repertoire includes every possible environment. (Ch. 6)

Since building a universal virtual-reality generator is physically possible, it must actually be built in some universes. (Ch. 6)

Quantum computation is... a distinctively new way of harnessing nature... It will be the first technology that allows useful tasks to be performed in collaboration between parallel universes. (Ch. 9)

Encyclopedia
David Elieser Deutsch, FRS (born 1953 in Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

) is an Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i-British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 at the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

. He is a non-stipendiary Visiting Professor in the Department of Atomic and Laser Physics at the Centre for Quantum Computation
Centre for Quantum Computation
The Centre for Quantum Computation or CQC is an alliance of quantum information research groups at the University of Oxford. It was founded by Artur Ekert in 1998....

 (CQC) in the Clarendon Laboratory
Clarendon Laboratory
The Clarendon Laboratory, located on Parks Road with the Science Area in Oxford, England , is part of the Physics Department at Oxford University...

 of the University of Oxford. He pioneered the field of quantum computation by being the first person to formulate a description for a quantum Turing machine
Quantum Turing machine
A quantum Turing machine , also a universal quantum computer, is an abstract machine used to model the effect of a quantum computer. It provides a very simple model which captures all of the power of quantum computation. Any quantum algorithm can be expressed formally as a particular quantum...

, as well as specifying an algorithm designed to run on a quantum computer. He is also a proponent of the many-worlds interpretation
Many-worlds interpretation
The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an...

 of quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

.

In the Royal Society of London
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

's announcement of Deutsch becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2008, the Society described Deutsch's contributions thus:

David Deutsch laid the foundations of the quantum theory of computation, and has subsequently made or participated in many of the most important advances in the field, including the discovery of the first quantum algorithms, the theory of quantum logic gates and quantum computational networks, the first quantum error-correction scheme, and several fundamental quantum universality results. He has set the agenda for worldwide research efforts in this new, interdisciplinary field, made progress in understanding its philosophical implications (via a variant of the many-universes interpretation) and made it comprehensible to the general public, notably in his book The Fabric of Reality.

The Fabric of Reality


In his 1997 book The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch details his "Theory of Everything." It aims not at the reduction of everything to particle physics, but rather mutual support among multiversal, computational, epistemological, and evolutionary principles. His theory of everything is (weakly) emergentist
Emergence
In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems....

 rather than reductive
Reductionism
Reductionism can mean either an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things or a philosophical position that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can...

.

There are "four strands" to his theory:
  1. Hugh Everett's
    Hugh Everett
    Hugh Everett III was an American physicist who first proposed the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, which he termed his "relative state" formulation....

     many-worlds interpretation
    Many-worlds interpretation
    The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an...

     of quantum physics
    Quantum mechanics
    Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

    , "the first and most important of the four strands."
  2. Karl Popper's
    Karl Popper
    Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

     epistemology, especially its anti-inductivism and requiring a realist
    Scientific realism
    Scientific realism is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science is the real world, as it is, independent of what we might take it to be...

     (non-instrumental) interpretation of scientific theories, as well as its emphasis on taking seriously those bold conjectures that resist falsification.
  3. Alan Turing's
    Alan Turing
    Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS , was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which played a...

     theory of computation, especially as developed in Deutsch's Turing principle, in which the Universal Turing machine
    Universal Turing machine
    In computer science, a universal Turing machine is a Turing machine that can simulate an arbitrary Turing machine on arbitrary input. The universal machine essentially achieves this by reading both the description of the machine to be simulated as well as the input thereof from its own tape. Alan...

     is replaced by Deutsch's universal quantum computer. ("The theory of computation is now the quantum theory of computation.")
  4. Richard Dawkins's
    Richard Dawkins
    Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

     refinement of Darwinian
    Darwinism
    Darwinism is a set of movements and concepts related to ideas of transmutation of species or of evolution, including some ideas with no connection to the work of Charles Darwin....

     evolutionary theory and the modern evolutionary synthesis
    Modern evolutionary synthesis
    The modern evolutionary synthesis is a union of ideas from several biological specialties which provides a widely accepted account of evolution...

    , especially the ideas of replicator and meme as they integrate with Popperian problem-solving (the epistemological strand).

Views


Politically, Deutsch is known to be sympathetic to libertarianism
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

, and was a founder, along with Sarah Fitz-Claridge, of the Taking Children Seriously
Taking Children Seriously
Taking Children Seriously is a parenting movement and educational philosophy whose central idea is that it is possible and desirable to raise and educate children without either doing anything to them against their will, or making them do anything against their will.It was founded in 1994 as an...

movement. He is also an atheist.

Awards


He was awarded the Dirac Prize
Dirac Prize
The Dirac Prize is the name of four prominent awards in the field of theoretical physics, computational chemistry, and mathematics, awarded by different organizations, named in honour of Professor Paul Dirac, one of the great theoretical physicists of the 20th Century.- The Dirac Medal and Lecture...

 of the Institute of Physics
Institute of Physics
The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of around 40,000....

 in 1998, and the Edge of Computation Science Prize in 2005. The Fabric of Reality was shortlisted for the Rhone-Poulenc science book award in 1998.

The Beginning of Infinity


Deutsch’s second book, The Beginning of Infinity
The Beginning of Infinity
The Beginning of Infinity is a popular science book by physicist David Deutsch published in 2011.-Synopsis:Deutsch views the enlightenment of the 18th century as near the beginning of an infinite sequence of purposeful knowledge creation. Knowledge here consists of information with good explanatory...

,
was published on 31 March 2011.

External links