Active Fault-Tolerant Quantum Error Correction: The Curse of the Open System
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2022
Relying on the universality of quantum mechanics and on recent results known as the “threshold theorems,” quantum information scientists deem the question of the feasibility of large-scale, fault-tolerant, and computationally superior quantum computers as purely technological. Reconstructing this question in statistical mechanical terms, this article suggests otherwise by questioning the physical significance of the threshold theorems. The skepticism it advances is neither too strong (hence is consistent with the universality of quantum mechanics) nor too weak (hence is independent of technological contingencies).
- Research Article
- Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association
This research is supported by the NSF (Grant SES no. 0847547) and Indiana University's Office of the Vice President for International Affairs. Any opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF. I thank Itamar Pitowsky for helpful comments and Gerardo Ortiz and Osvaldo Pessoa for discussion. I also thank two anonymous referees for helpful suggestions and comments. I am solely responsible for any mistakes or errors that might appear herein.