Forty years ago physicist Richard Feynman made a straightforward proposition: Classical computers trying to simulate a fundamentally quantum reality might be outdone by a computer that, like reality, is itself quantum. In 2019 a team at Google led by Martinis realized this so-called quantum advantage by demonstrating that the company’s Sycamore system really could perform a specific, limited task exponentially faster than even powerful classical supercomputers

Source: Scientific American China Is Pulling Ahead in Global Quantum Race, New Studies Suggest

I don't understand why "like reality" works in the phrase "a computer that, like reality, is itself quantum." It seems to me it should have been "like the reality" because it refers back to "a fundamentally quantum reality" rather than "classical reality."

Is the definite article "the" necessary or omit-able there?

1 Answer 1


"Reality" is a single thing; ie, the total of what actually exists. There are not different "classical" and "quantum" realities. Feynman is saying that if reality is fundamentally quantum, then a quantum computer might be better at simulating it.

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