David Deutsch

David Deutsch

David Deutsch in 2015
Born (1953-05-18) 18 May 1953[1]
Haifa, Israel
Fields Theoretical physics
Quantum information science
Institutions University of Oxford
Clarendon Laboratory
Alma mater Clare College, Cambridge
Wolfson College, Oxford
Doctoral advisor Dennis Sciama
Doctoral students Artur Ekert
Known for Quantum computing
Quantum Turing machine
Church-Turing-Deutsch principle
Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm
Quantum logic gate
Quantum circuit
Quantum error correction
Qubit field theory
Constructor theory
The Fabric of Reality
The Beginning of Infinity
Influences Karl Popper, Jacob Bronowski, William Godwin[2]
Notable awards Dirac Prize (1998)

David Elieser Deutsch, FRS (born 18 May 1953), is an Israeli-born British physicist at the University of Oxford. He is a non-stipendiary Visiting Professor in the Department of Atomic and Laser Physics at the Centre for Quantum Computation (CQC) in the Clarendon Laboratory of the University of Oxford. He pioneered the field of quantum computation by formulating a description for a quantum Turing machine, as well as specifying an algorithm designed to run on a quantum computer.[3] He is a proponent of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Early life and education

Deutsch was born in Haifa in Israel on 18 May 1953, the son of Oskar and Tikva Deutsch. He attended William Ellis School in London (then a voluntary aided grammar school) before reading Natural Sciences at Clare College, Cambridge and taking Part III of the Mathematical Tripos. He went on to Wolfson College, Oxford for his doctorate in theoretical physics and wrote his thesis on quantum field theory in curved space-time.[1][2]


In the Royal Society of London's announcement that Deutsch had become a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2008, the Society described Deutsch's contributions thus:[4]

David Deutsch laid the foundations of the quantum theory of computation, and has subsequently made or participated in many of the most important advances in the field, including the discovery of the first quantum algorithms, the theory of quantum logic gates and quantum computational networks, the first quantum error-correction scheme, and several fundamental quantum universality results. He has set the agenda for worldwide research efforts in this new, interdisciplinary field, made progress in understanding its philosophical implications (via a variant of the many-universes interpretation) and made it comprehensible to the general public, notably in his book The Fabric of Reality.

His published work on quantum algorithms began with a ground-breaking 1985 paper,[5] later expanded in 1992 along with Richard Jozsa to produce the Deutsch–Jozsa algorithm, one of the first examples of a quantum algorithm that is exponentially faster than any possible deterministic classical algorithm.

He is currently working on constructor theory, an attempt at generalizing the quantum theory of computation to cover not just computation but all physical processes.[6][7]

Together with Chiara Marletto, he published a paper in December 2014 entitled Constructor theory of information, that conjectures that information can be expressed solely in terms of which transformations of physical systems are possible and which are impossible.[8]

He was awarded the Dirac Prize of the Institute of Physics in 1998,[9] and the Edge of Computation Science Prize in 2005.[10] The Fabric of Reality was shortlisted for the Rhone-Poulenc science book award in 1998.[11]

Popular science books

The Fabric of Reality

Main article: The Fabric of Reality

In his 1997 book The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch details his "Theory of Everything." It aims not at the reduction of everything to particle physics, but rather mutual support among multiversal, computational, epistemological, and evolutionary principles. His theory of everything is somewhat emergentist rather than reductive.

There are "four strands" to his theory:

  1. Hugh Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, "the first and most important of the four strands."
  2. Karl Popper's epistemology, especially its anti-inductivism and requiring a realist (non-instrumental) interpretation of scientific theories, as well as its emphasis on taking seriously those bold conjectures that resist falsification.
  3. Alan Turing's theory of computation, especially as developed in Deutsch's Turing principle, in which the Universal Turing machine is replaced by Deutsch's universal quantum computer. ("The theory of computation is now the quantum theory of computation.")
  4. Richard Dawkins's refinement of Darwinian evolutionary theory and the modern evolutionary synthesis, especially the ideas of replicator and meme as they integrate with Popperian problem-solving (the epistemological strand).

The Beginning of Infinity

Deutsch’s second book, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World, was published on 31 March 2011. In this book Deutsch views the Enlightenment of the 18th century as near the beginning of a potentially unending sequence of purposeful knowledge creation. He examines the nature of memes and how and why creativity evolved in humans.


Deutsch is an atheist.[12] He is also a founding member of the parenting and educational method known as Taking Children Seriously.[13]

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 Deutsch, Prof. David Elieser. Who's Who. 2014 (April 2014 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  2. 1 2 Interview by Filiz Peach (published in Philosophy Now 30 December 2000)
  3. Deutsch, David (July 1985). "Quantum theory, the Church-Turing principle and the universal quantum computer" (PDF). Proceedings of the Royal Society A. 400 (1818): 97–117. Bibcode:1985RSPSA.400...97D. doi:10.1098/rspa.1985.0070. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 September 2003. Also available here. Abstract available here.
  4. "New Fellows 08 Craik - Kaiser", The Royal Society. Also available here. Mirror link.
  5. David Deutsch (1985). "Quantum Theory, the Church-Turing Principle and the Universal Quantum Computer" (PDF). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A. 400: 97. Bibcode:1985RSPSA.400...97D. doi:10.1098/rspa.1985.0070.
  6. Constructor Theory, A Conversation with David Deutsch, Interview at 'Edge' , 22 October 2012
  7. Deutsch, D. and Marletto, C.; "Why we need to reconstruct the universe", New Scientist, 24 May 2014, Pages 30-31.
  8. Constructor theory of information David Deutsch, Chiara Marletto Proc. R. Soc. A:2015471 20140540;DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2014.0540.Published 17 December 2014
  9. Dirac prize award
  10. Edge of Computation Science Prize
  11. Rhone-Poulenc 1998 shortlist
  12. David Deutsch entry, Celeb atheists website, 30 March 2005. Accessed Jan 2015
  13. Friedman, Dawn (November–December 2003). "Taking Children Seriously - A new child-rearing movement believes parents should never coerce their kids". UTNE Reader. Utne Reader Editorial Office. Retrieved July 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links

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