How-Possibly Explanations in (Quantum) Computer Science

Citation data:

Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0031-8248, Vol: 82, Issue: 5, Page: 737-748

Publication Year:
2015
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11588
DOI:
10.1086/683243
Author(s):
Cuffaro, Michael E.
Publisher(s):
University of Chicago Press
Tags:
Arts and Humanities
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article description
A primary goal of quantum computer science is to find an explanation for the fact that quantum computers are more powerful than classical computers. In this paper I argue that to answer this question is to compare algorithmic processes of various kinds and to describe the possibility spaces associated with these processes. By doing this, we explain how it is possible for one process to outperform its rival. Further, in this and similar examples little is gained in subsequently asking a how-actually question. Once one has explained how-possibly, there is little left to do.