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An important quantum algorithm may actually be a property of nature


Evidence that quantum searches are an ordinary feature of electron behavior may explain the genetic code, one of the greatest puzzles in biology.


Back in 1996, a quantum physicist at Bell Labs in New Jersey published a new recipe for searching through a database of N entries. Computer scientists have long known that this process takes around N steps because in the worst case, the last item on the list could be the one of interest.


However, this physicist, Lov Grover, showed how the strange rules of quantum mechanics allowed the search to be done in a number of steps equal to the square root of N.


[...] Today Stéphane Guillet and colleagues at the University of Toulon in France say this may be easier than anybody expected. They say they have evidence that Grover’s search algorithm is a naturally occurring phenomenon.


[...] That has obvious implications for quantum computing, but its real import may be much more profound. For some time, theorists have debated whether quantum search could explain one of the greatest mysteries about the origin of life. The idea that Grover searches occur in nature could finally solve the conundrum.


[...] The work also has implications for our thinking about the genetic code and the origin of life. Every living creature on Earth uses the same code, in which DNA stores information using four nucleotide bases. The sequences of nucleotides encode information for constructing proteins from an alphabet of 20 amino acids.


But why these numbers—four and 20—and not some others? Back in 2000, just a few years after Grover published his work, Apoorva Patel at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore showed how Grover’s algorithm could explain these numbers.


[...] Patel’s idea is related to the way DNA is assembled inside cells. In this situation, the molecular machinery inside a cell must search through the molecular soup of nucleotide bases to find the right one. If there are four choices, a classical search takes four steps on average. So the machinery would have to try four different bases during each assembly step.


But a quantum search using Grover’s algorithm is much quicker: Patel showed that when there are four choices, a quantum search can distinguish between four alternatives in a single step. Indeed, four is optimal number.


[...] In other words, if the search processes involved in assembling DNA and proteins is to be as efficient as possible, the number of bases should be four and the number of amino acids should to be 20—exactly as is found. The only caveat is that the searches must be quantum in nature.


[...] Since then, an increasing body of evidence has emerged that quantum processes play an important role in a number of biological mechanisms. Photosynthesis, for example, is now thought to be an essentially quantum process.


The work of Guillet and co throws a new perspective on all this. It suggests that Grover’s algorithm is not only possible in certain materials; it seems to be a property of nature. And if that’s true, then the objections to Patel’s ideas start to crumble.



  • Yea 7

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chimie organique

4 liaisons carbones

4 éléments C H O N

ok mais je ne comprends pas trop l'aspect quantique ?

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Ok l'étude date de 2001 et cause de tests expérimentaux capable de vérifier le scénario. Bon ça fait 18 ans, on a qq chose d'autre ?

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