Inside Quantum Technology

Interview with Mathematician Peter Shor About His Algorithm and His Poetry

(ScientificAmericanBlog) Peter Shor is well-known as the mathematician who in 1994 discovered (invented?) Shor’s algorithm, a quantum-computational method for factoring numbers that helped boost the field of quantum computers to a new energy level. Shor has also been writing poetry occasionally since high school, but in a recent interview explained he never considered making poetry a career.
In this interview, Shor discusses the two reasons mathematicians look for proofs:
a) to ensure that the things they claim are actually true;
b) to gain more understanding into mathematics.
In the conversation with the blog author, Shor explained that the biggest popular fallacy about quantum computers is probably that they are just like classical computers, only faster. In fact, they are quite different. There are some problems that quantum computers seem to be exponentially faster than classical computers at, like factoring. There are other problems that quantum computers don’t speed up at all, like sorting.

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