28,636 reputation
24697
bio website math.mit.edu/~shor
location Cambridge, MA
age 54
visits member for 3 years, 1 month
seen 19 mins ago

I'm a professor in the Mathematics Dept. at M.I.T. I mostly work on quantum computation, quantum information, and quantum complexity, but I am also interested in other areas of theoretical computer science and mathematics.


1h
comment Opposite of the suffix -less
Just Googling, dimensionful seems to be used mainly by particle physicists. I suspect most scientists in other disciplines will be baffled by this word.
7h
revised custom cutting lumber or custom cut lumber or custom lumber cutting
added 165 characters in body
7h
answered custom cutting lumber or custom cut lumber or custom lumber cutting
2d
comment Gender neutral reflexive pronoun — equivalent to “himself” and “herself”
The OED has citations for "themself" as early as 1382, and to its precursor "þeȝȝm sellfenn" around 1200.
2d
comment Complex sentence whose subject is a clause
This construction is only used rarely nowadays. Today, it might be "the fact that he is very sick is evident". Consider how much use of "the fact that" has increased. (See Ngram).
Apr
16
comment Common ground between Deck and Graveyard in trading card games
Since another word for "graveyard" is "discard pile", I think "pile" is an excellent choice.
Apr
16
comment What tense uses a modal with “be” and a past tense verb
The word "done" in "it can be done" is not acting as an adjective. Consider: "he may be finished" does not mean "someone may finish him"; it means "he is in the state of being finished". However, "it can be done" does mean "someone can do it", and not "it can be in the state of being done".
Apr
16
comment Conceptual limitations of the English Language?
There are indeed similar problems with English. The construction "all X do not Y" ("all that glitters is not gold") naturally means "not all X do Y" ("not everything that is gold glitters") despite the practitioners of syllogistic logic who have been insisting otherwise for the last several centuries, and confusing everybody.
Apr
16
revised The adventures of Tom Sawyer sentence meaning
added 1 characters in body
Apr
16
answered The adventures of Tom Sawyer sentence meaning
Apr
16
comment Is “cheese-stick operation, manufacturing, building current word?
I would think a "cheese stick" is just a stick made of cheese. Making cheese (whether it is shaped into sticks or not) is a notoriously smelly operation.
Apr
16
comment Present perfect or simple past in combination with past perfect?
Neither of the past perfect constructions are acceptable to me. A past perfect event has to come before some event that is in the past. I think the constructions "have been suffering" and "have begun to suffer" count as present here.
Apr
15
comment Usage of the noun suffix “-ment”
Desire is already a noun as well as a verb. There's no need to make the noun desire into a longer noun by adding -ment, and in fact desirement is not a word. Since achieve is not already a noun, it makes sense to turn it into a noun by adding -ment.
Apr
15
comment Is to + ing (to becoming) correct?
The problem with this answer is that (at least according to Ngrams) people don't use "on track for" with gerunds. I've checked this with several verbs, and none of them registered on Ngrams. I don't think it's ungrammatical; just unidiomatic.
Apr
15
comment us english vs uk english
American English and British English are different for the same reason that France, Spain, Romania, Italy, and Portugal don't all speak Latin, and the reason that nobody in India still speaks Sanskrit. Languages change.
Apr
15
comment Suitable idiom for using instead of immunize
The word is sterilize.
Apr
14
comment Why is “agnostic” pronounced “ag-gnostic” as opposed to “a-gnostic”?
@Malvolio: I don't know what John means by "originally", but it was pronounced that way in the original Greek.
Apr
14
comment Why is “agnostic” pronounced “ag-gnostic” as opposed to “a-gnostic”?
But does it come from "a" + "gnostic" in English, or from the Greek "agnostos""agnostic" in parallel with Greek "gnostos""gnostic"? If it's the latter, shouldn't the "g" be pronounced?
Apr
13
comment Conceptual limitations of the English Language?
I'm not sure whether this "inherent limit" was due to the Greek language, or the philosophy of Aristotle. From Wikipedia: Aristotle describes potentiality and actuality, or potency and action, as one of several distinctions between things that exist or do not exist. In a sense, a thing that exists potentially does not exist, but the potential does exist.
Apr
13
comment Why are the first syllables of “nature” and “natural” pronounced differently?
But how about tenure, figure, stature, culture?