Quantum computation as geometry

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How should we think about quantum computing? The usual answer to this question is based on ideas inspired by computer science, such as qubits, quantum gates, and quantum circuits. In this talk I will explain an alternate geometric approach to quantum computation. In the geometric approach, an optimal quantum computation corresponds to "free falling" along the minimal geodesics of a certain Riemannian manifold. This reformulation opens up the possibility of using tools from geometry to understand the strengths and weaknesses of quantum computation, and perhaps to understand what makes certain physical operations difficult (or easy) to synthesize.