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Computing the non-computable

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We explore in the framework of quantum computation the notion of computability, which holds a central position in mathematics and theoretical computer science. A quantum algorithm that exploits the quantum adiabatic processes is considered for Hilbert's tenth problem, which is equivalent to the Turing halting problem and known to be mathematically non-computable. Generalized quantum algorithms are also considered for some other mathematical non-computables in the same and in different non-computability classes. The key element of all these algorithms is the measurability of both the values of physical observables and the quantum-mechanical probability distributions for these values. It is argued that computability, and thus the limits of mathematics, ought to be determined not solely by mathematics itself but also by physical principles.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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