Skip to main content
  • Book
  • © 2022

Analogue Quantum Simulation

A New Instrument for Scientific Understanding

Authors:

(view affiliations)
  • Analyzes analogue quantum simulation philosophically

  • Provides a framework to support the goals of scientists

  • Useful to both working scientists and philosophers of science

Buying options

eBook
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-87216-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD 69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction: A New Instrument of Science?

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 1-8
  3. Distinctions with a Difference

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 9-27
  4. Cold Atom Computation: From Many-Body Localisation to the Higgs Mode

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 29-50
  5. Photonic Emulation and Quantum Biology

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 51-61
  6. Emulation of Hawking Radiation in Dispersive Optical Media

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 63-81
  7. Understanding via Analogue Quantum Simulation

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 83-102
  8. Understanding via Analogue Quantum Simulation in Practice

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 103-112
  9. Norms for Validation and Understanding

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 113-129
  10. Methodological Mapping

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 131-141
  11. Closing Remarks

    • Dominik Hangleiter, Jacques Carolan, Karim P. Y. Thébault
    Pages 143-146
  12. Back Matter

    Pages 147-148

About this book

This book presents fresh insights into analogue quantum simulation. It argues that these simulations are a new instrument of science. They require a bespoke philosophical analysis, sensitive to both the similarities to and the differences with conventional scientific practices such as analogical argument, experimentation, and classical simulation.

The analysis situates the various forms of analogue quantum simulation on the methodological map of modern science. In doing so, it clarifies the functions that analogue quantum simulation serves in scientific practice. To this end, the authors introduce a number of important terminological distinctions. They establish that analogue quantum ‘computation' and ‘emulation' are distinct scientific practices and lead to distinct forms of scientific understanding. The authors also demonstrate the normative value of the computation vs. emulation distinction at both an epistemic and a pragmatic level.

The volume features a range of detailed case studies focusing on: i) cold atom computation of many-body localisation and the Higgs mode; ii) photonic emulation of quantum effects in biological systems; and iii) emulation of Hawing radiation in dispersive optical media. Overall, readers will discover a  normative framework to isolate and support the goals of scientists undertaking analogue quantum simulation and emulation. This framework will prove useful to both working scientists and philosophers of science interested in cutting-edge scientific practice.

Keywords

  • Thébault Analogue quantum simulation
  • Simulation of Hawing Radiation
  • Thébault on Quantum speed-up
  • Philosophy of simulation and Emulation
  • Analogue Quantum Simulation
  • simulation of the Higgs mode in two dimensions
  • normative value of the simulation
  • photonic emulation of quantum effects
  • quantum effects in biological systems

Reviews

Physics, as a field, can be understood because the models we develop to explain one physical phenomenon often turn out to be fundamental and describe many other phenomena. So computational tools that allow us to simulate a basic physical model can further our understanding of many other aspects of nature. In recent years, physicists have experimentally demonstrated that one quantum system can be programmed to simulate features of another quantum system, which obeys the same mathematics. But the question of whether analogue quantum simulations can reveal new physics to us, beyond what can be revealed by classical machines, will likely depend on whether we can implement quantum error correction in those quantum machines. The philosophical questions that are raised by the existence or forbiddance of these devices will continue to grow as quantum technologies become more powerful. This book is a prescient journey into some of the most fascinating and important questions for analogue quantum simulators.

Anthony Laing,  Associate Professor in Physics (University of Bristol), Co Director of the Quantum Engineering and Technology Labs at University of Bristol. 

Analog simulations are a promising new research tool in fundamental physics. But what can we really learn from them? What kind of knowledge or understanding do they provide? When should they be used, and what are their limitations? In this short but meaty book, the authors – an experimentalist, a theoretical physicist, and a philosopher of science – explore these questions in a novel way. To answer them, it is necessary to look not only at the details of the relevant physics. It is also important to have a normative epistemological framework at hand, and it is exciting to see how the back-and-forth between physics and philosophy leads not only to philosophical advances but also to a better appreciation (and possibly correction) of scientific practice. This is philosophy of science at its best.

Stephan Hartmann,  Professor of Philosophy of Science (LMU Munich), author of Bayesian Philosophy of Science.

Knowledge from experiments involves inference from the behavior of a controlled system to other relevantly “similar” systems. The very recent development of “analogue quantum simulation” involves a fabulous broadening of the kinds of inferences that can be used and, consequently, the kinds of systems that will count as relevantly similar. This book will give you an introduction to these entirely novel developments in experimental physics.

Paul Teller, Professor Emeritus (University of California, Davis), author of An Interpretive Introduction to Quantum Field Theory.

Philosophers of science, over the last few decades, have produced a wide body of work on the role of models and simulations in science.  But very little work, until now, has been devoted to understanding analogue simulation.  It is tempting to think analogue simulation must either be experiment masquerading under a fancier name, or else just computer simulation using an analog computer.  Hangleiter, Carolan, and Thébault deftly show that nothing could be further from the truth.  They show how the quantum world, full of entanglement and superposition, challenges our intuitions about what it means to experiment on, and simulate, a system.   This is a book that will fascinate the reader, while reinvigorating the study of models and simulations in philosophy of science, and creating a conceptual repertoire that will inform the study of quantum analog simulation as it comes of age in the next several decades.

Eric Winsberg, Professor of Philosophy (University of South Florida), author of Science in the Age of Computer Simulation.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS), University of Maryland and NIST, College Park, USA

    Dominik Hangleiter

  • Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London, London, UK

    Jacques Carolan

  • Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

    Karim P. Y. Thébault

About the authors

Dominik Hangleiter is a Hartree Postdoctoral Fellow at the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science of the University of Maryland and NIST. In his research, he explores the computational potential of quantum devices from the perspectives of physics and computer science, and asks questions about the methodological foundations of science in general.

Jacques Carolan is a Research Fellow at the Neural Computation Lab at University College London, developing optical technologies for large-scale control and readout of neural circuits. Previously, he was developing on photonic technologies to accelerate quantum and classical computing.

Karim Thébault is an Associate Professor in Philosophy of Science at the University of Bristol. His research interests are principally within the philosophy of physics, with a particular emphasis on classical and quantum theories of gravity as well as various issues in general philosophy of science and the philosophy of the social sciences.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-87216-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD 69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)