An interesting article by Gerard Rinkus comparing the qualities of sparse distributed representation and quantum computing. In effect, he argues that because distributed representations can simultaneously represent multiple states, you get the same effect as a quantum superposition.

The article was originally titled “sparse distributed coding via quantum computing” but I think that gets the key conclusions backwards (maybe I’m wrong?).

The full article is here:

http://people.brandeis.edu/~grinkus/SDR_and_QC.html

Rinkus says:

*“I believe that SDR constitutes a classical instantiation of quantum superposition and that switching from localist representations to SDR, which entails no new, esoteric technology, is the key to achieving quantum computation in a single-processor, classical (Von Neumann) computer.”*

I think that goes a bit too far. Yes, it would seem to have some of the same advantages as quantum computing, with the additional benefit of fitting classical computing technology that is mass manufactured at low cost.

However may be moot, now that true quantum computing looks to become practical:

All in all I think the analogy between sparse distributed representation and quantum computing is very thought-provoking.

Dave, thanks for your interest in my idea. Actually the published title is the other way. I need to fix the title on the web page you referenced.

But I do make the strong claim that SDR is identically quantum computing. I say this because if an SDR field represents an exponential number of hypotheses in superposition AND if that entire superposition can be updated in a way that is consistent with the dynamics of the modeled domain in computational time that does not depend on the number of hypotheses in the superposition, then this sounds qualitatively identical to the claims for quantum computing.

I also just wrote a new blog you might like (at http://brainworkshow.sparsey.com/ ) in which I argue that this same concept, applied to physical matter, constitutes a new interpretation of quantum theory.

Thanks again

Rod Rinkus