I love living in the future

This will shake things up:

“We will be providing access to quantum systems for selected industry partners starting this year,” said Scott Crowder, who’s leading the handoff of the quantum computing work from IBM Research to the IBM Systems product team.

Certain problems that were computationally impossible to solve using current computers will solved in a fraction of a second. The programming and the algorithms used will be mind bending but the results will be astounding.

This will be as big, or bigger, than the invention of the microprocessor in the 1970s. I was there for that (in college I built a simple system on an 8080 and programmed it by hand assemble of the instructions and keying the hex bytes into a PROM programmer) and I’m thrilled to be here for this.

9 thoughts on “I love living in the future

  1. Yeah, but some people think the D-Wave machine is just hype since that quantum stuff is kinda nebulous. I speak with authority having taken one class programming an 8080 :-). Machine-code-speed rocks! Frankly, a quantum future kinda scares me a little… Or not. Or both.

    • Last I looked at D-wave, they had published a pile of physics papers on whether their machine is, actually, doing quantum computation. One problem is that D-wave does “quantum annealing” which is an approximation of quantum computation — the question is whether it’s an adequate approximation.

      It’s hard to tell what IBM has. The C-net article mentions 5 qubits, which isn’t much. Or 50, in the not too distant future. The effective size will be a fraction of that because error correction consumes a portion (the majority, if I remember right) of the qubits.

      Shor’s fast factoring algorithm requires a qubit per data bit, so today’s 2048 bit RSA keys are vulnerable once quantum computers hit 10k qubits or so. One interesting scaling question is whether that quantity of qubits can remain coherent (since things only work if they all together make up a single global quantum system).

      Programming these machines is a real bear. You need a Ph.D in physics and another one in mathematics, plus specialized knowledge. A year or two ago I attempted to read a text book lent to me by a friend, “A gentle introduction to quantum computing”. It’s an MIT textbook for a graduate level course, and went way over my head and over my rusty quantum mechanics 101; I hate to imagine what a not so gentle review would look like…

    • They probably will be similar to the computers we have now in that regard. They will be a tool for authoritarians as well as a tool to use against them. With perhaps a slight edge to them in the beginning and a slight edge to be used against them as the technology matures.

  2. Dunno. I kinda like certain problems being hard. All our crypto infrastructure rather depends on it.

    • It’s like the eternal struggle between armor and weapons; a weapon will be developed to defeat armor, then the armor gets better and blocks it. And so on.

      Crypto will evolve, just as computing power will.

      My question is, can you run games at 60+ fps on these systems? 😀

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