Through a path more tortuous than is worth describing, I ended up talking to friends about the quantum effects which are exploited by photosynthesis. There's an article describing the topic we were talking about here.
The article describes how quantum effects allow the molecular machinary of the chloroplasts to "simultaneously sample all the potential energy pathways and choose the most efficient one."
Which is essentially how Quantum Computing is usually described in the press too, only we get to set what we mean by "most efficient" to be "best solution to this problem".
Since I usually find myself arguing that "there is no wave collapse," the conversation has lead me to trying to picture how this "exploring" can happen unless there is also some "pruning" at the end of it.
Of course even in the Copenhagen Interpretation "wave collapse" always happens in accordance with the probabilities described by the wave function, so presumably the system is engineered in such a way as to make that "most efficient" result the most probable according to those equations.
It's not somehow consistently picking results from the far end of the bell-curve of probable outcomes. It's just engineered so that bell-curve is centred on the most efficient outcomes.
There's no 'collapse', it's just that the system has been set up in such a way that the most likely and therefore common universes have the property that the energy is transferred.
Or something. Dunno.
Can someone write an article describing how quantum computing works from a many-words perspective rather than the explore-and-then-prune perspective that it seems every press article I've ever read on the topic uses?
I'd like to read that.