Suppose we build a universal quantum computer and it functions as we currently expect it to. Is there any reason to suggest that, beyond its uses for things like cryptography and quantum system simulation, such a device could be used to shed light on the measurement problem?


  • As we scale up the modeling of quantum systems, from simple to dynamic and complex, can we test whether or not the apparent randomness of a decoherence event is due to our current inability/unwillingness to model the entirety of the system (particle, measurement apparatus, observer) in quantum terms?

(I used a universal quantum computer in my question, but if another kind of quantum computation device is more appropriate or preferred, then please tell me/answer in that spirit.)

Part B of this question can be found here.

N.B.1. I do not mean that a universal quantum computer can ever give us perfect information, or that we can provide it with perfect information, or that it can/will violate the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in terms of what it tells us. I am only asking in the context of decoherence.

N.B.2. I do not ask this in the context of a hidden variable theory; I am asking if our ignorance is based on our inability to efficiently process the description that we do have, rather than having an incomplete description to start with. If this distinction is not correct, or is not actually meaningful, then I have misunderstood it and will edit the question.


closed as too broad by DanielSank, Neuneck, Kyle Kanos, Ryan Unger, Qmechanic Aug 5 '15 at 13:19

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Quantum computing is probably not the best way to test things like decoherence models. You should look into quantum simulation, both 'analogue' and 'digital', which tries to implement interesting models and test them experimentally. This would then allow us to test decoherence phenomena (i.e. one qubit coupled to a bath) on a test tube. Similarly, quantum thermodynamics experiments like this one are very interesting testbeds of the bits of QM which we're less sure about. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Aug 3 '15 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty - thank you, that would probably make a very good Part C question - will quantum simulators ultimately prove more effective in probing the measurement problem. I'll see if I can formulate a question around that. $\endgroup$ – Phyneas Aug 3 '15 at 14:59
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    $\begingroup$ By the way, try to limit the number of edits you make to your questions in the future. If you're editing one post more than 4 or 5 times, there's a good chance you're editing too much. $\endgroup$ – David Z Aug 3 '15 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ I should probably stop you in your tracks: they won't. They will help us understand quantum mechanics better. But again, they sit inside of QM (unless they disprove it, which would be a major surprise), and the measurement problem is outside it. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Aug 3 '15 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty - Ok, thank you for the reference though, I will enjoy reading about those. $\endgroup$ – Phyneas Aug 3 '15 at 15:19

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