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Quantum Approach to Informatics by Kalle-Antti Suominen, Stig Stenholm

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND

Quantum mechanics arose from the need to understand the thermal properties of radiation and the discrete spectral features of atoms. From this developed the present understanding of the nonclassical behavior of the fundamental units of matter and radiation. Quantum theory has turned out to be the most universally successful theory of physics. From its start in atomic spectroscopy, it has developed to predict structures of molecules, nuclei, and even the large-scale structures of the universe.

Much of our electronics industry today utilizes quantum phenomena in an essential manner. Without the understanding offered by quantum theory, our ability to build integrated circuits and communication devices would not have emerged. In these areas the basic theoretical progress took place in the middle of the twentieth century; the engineers who plan electronics devices need hardly worry about the problems still lingering on our interpretation of quantum theory.

Despite all its successes, quantum theory is more a set of recipes than a well-formed theory. Even if we master quantum theory in practical applications, we do not really comprehend its basic structure as a probabilistic theory with its associated highly nonclassical and nonlocal correlations. The rather strange role of an observer and the very act of measurements give an uneasy feeling that the theory is not closed. Over the decades, this feeling was put forward by many eminent physicists, including ...

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