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Introduction

In late 1995, I was browsing an issue of Science, purloined from an unsuspecting colleague, containing an article [1] by David DiVincenzo of IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center on the then emerging subject of quantum computation. Being a vision scientist my knowledge of quantum physics could be summed up in only a very few "easy pieces" (and in fact Feynman [2] seems to have thought of the idea pretty early on) but I was able to follow the gist of the argument enough to want to know more about it. It is a really powerful ideabeing able to use quantum information to do computation. However, since the practical issues in constructing a physical realization of a quantum computer apparently required a few more years of incubation, I figured I would carefully clean my fingerprints off of the journal, return it to its rightful owner, and wait for a) someone to figure out how to build one, b) someone to port UNIX, Emacs, and [Graphics:../Images/index_gr_1.gif] to it, and finally c) someone to port it to Mathematica. But as with all good things that I am not able or permitted to dosuch as fly an F-16 or drive a school bus on the streets and sidewalks of San Francisco, a simulator can work wonders to cure an unscratched itch.


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