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Quantum Computing since Democritus by Scott Aaronson

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17 Interactive proofs, circuit lower bounds, and more

I ended last chapter by giving you a puzzle problem: can I do ornithology without leaving my office?

I want to know if all ravens are black. The old-fashioned approach would involve going outside, looking for a bunch of ravens and seeing if they're black or not. The more modern approach: look around the room at all of the things that are not black and note that they also are not ravens. In this way, I become increasingly convinced that all not-black things are not ravens, or equivalently that all ravens are black. Can I be a leader in the field of ornithology this way?

If your answer is “You wouldn't be getting a random sample of nonblack things by just sitting in your office,” let me point out ...

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