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In light of Stephen Hawking passing away today, I was wondering whether any of his results have direct impact on cs?

The obvious candidate would be in quantum computing, or rather the construction of a physical quantum computer, but perhaps there are results that have other impact.

I am familiar with his work only on the popular-science level, so this is not really a research-level question, but perhaps it has research-level answers.

EDIT: following the answer, I don't mean his recent concerns about AI. That is not really a contribution to CS, more of a philosophical/sociological point. I aim more for mathematical results, or connections of physics to computing.

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    $\begingroup$ If you consider information theory to be part of CS, his solution to the black hole information paradox (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole_information_paradox) can be seen as such a contribution $\endgroup$ – Denis Mar 14 '18 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Denis - why not add some details and make this an answer? Seems very relevant. $\endgroup$ – Shaull Mar 15 '18 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ he had a lot to say about future possibliities of AI in later interviews but apparently not much in writing, somewhat alarmist headline grabbing along the lines of Musk. some may criticize that but unf if the (insider) leaders of a field do not speak up, others will in the semi vacuum. for more grounded insider views of AI see Gates or Brooks. it seems Hawking fell into some of the "traps" descr by Brooks here recently technologyreview.com/s/609048/… $\endgroup$ – vzn Mar 23 '18 at 16:17
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He didn't have any major impact on computer science.

His writing in computer science are limited to popsci and more recently raising public concerns about AI.

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  • $\begingroup$ Stating that he didn't have any major impact requires some evidence. As pointed out in the comments, his contribution to information theory may be such a contribution. But I will edit the post to regard the AI concerns. $\endgroup$ – Shaull Mar 15 '18 at 11:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Shaull Stating that he didn't have any major impact requires some evidence. It's hard to demonstrate that something did not happen. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Mar 16 '18 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Thomas - Indeed, it's very hard. That's why I think such an answer is not entirely believable without substantial evidence. Moreover, who is to tell whether Hawking's work won't have any impact in the future? Point is - while the question is phrased as "is there any impact", my intention was "give examples of impact, if you know of any". In the same sense that when someone asks you whether you know what time it is, you don't answer "yes". $\endgroup$ – Shaull Mar 16 '18 at 9:10
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The Black Hole Information Paradox seems relevant to me, as it concerns information theory, which can be seen as close to computer science.

To sum up, the paradox in question is that when objects or in general waves carrying information are swallowed by a black hole, the information they carry seems to be destroyed. This violates principles in quantum physics, roughly saying that information must be preserved.

Hawking showed that black holes actually emit radiations, and therefore slowly evaporate. This hints towards different ways of solving the paradox, listed in the wikipedia page.

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  • $\begingroup$ If the lowly NAND gate can lose information, why can't a black hole lose information as well ??? $\endgroup$ – William Hird Mar 16 '18 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ I guess a physical NAND gate must give back the "lost" information in the form of heat or in some other way we computer scientists abstract away. $\endgroup$ – Denis Mar 16 '18 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ why did you put parentheses around the word lost, you don't think you can "recover" the information after it has been turned into heat, do you? You will need some Flux Capacitors and a Heisenberg Compensator to accomplish that ;-) $\endgroup$ – William Hird Mar 16 '18 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ It's because it's lost for us but not for the physical world :) $\endgroup$ – Denis Mar 16 '18 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't that the same thing, after all, we are all entangled with our "environment" , right ? $\endgroup$ – William Hird Mar 16 '18 at 16:19
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Not a direct answer but something : He is mentioned 19 times in these lecture notes of Scott Aaronson, https://www.scottaaronson.com/barbados-2016.pdf That says something, I guess? :D

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He gave a little indirect concrete (not theoretical) contribution to assistive technologies:

Stephen Hawking's speech tech released by Intel: "... Software that helps Prof Stephen Hawking to speak via a computer has been published online by Intel, the company that created it. ..."

There is a short description also on his site.

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