Tag Archives: quantum computing

The Dawn of the Quantum Age Nears

Rose's Law gives you some idea of the super-exponential power quantum computers will offer.

Rose’s Law gives you some idea of the super-exponential power quantum computers will offer.

A few years ago — for fun — I started to read about quantum computing and quantum information. At the time, I believed that a real quantum computer was decades away, especially since that was what most experts were saying.

But, that’s linear thinking — and technology does not often follow linear progressions. Technology increases exponentially. And it may increase super-exponentially, if the latest quantum discoveries continue to flow from research labs and companies, such as D-Wave.

D-Wave recently announced that Google has signed up as one of their quantum computer customers and Google and NASA are teaming up to develop a Quantum AI lab. In case you don’t realize the implications: that’s friggin’ huge.

Quantum information processes use qubits, which are a lot like the bits of information we’re familiar with in binary computing. But, where a binary bit can be in a 1 position or a 0 position, a qubit can be in a 0 position or in a 1 position or anything in between — at the same time. It’s called superposition. Qubits in superposition are capable of massive feats of calculation. And, the more qubits that researchers learn to entangle, the more powerful these computers will become. How powerful? According to How Stuff Works:

A 30-qubit quantum computer would equal the processing power of a conventional computer that could run at 10 teraflops (trillions of floating-point operations per second). Today’s typical desktop computers run at speeds measured in gigaflops (billions of floating-point operations per second).

That’s pretty powerful. However, most experts say that quantum computers are better for certain computations that classic computers don’t even come close to matching. Because of a quantum computer’s ability to detect observation and its ability to massively crunch numbers, QCs make near perfect devices for encryption and cryptography.

But, in my opinion, sending and receiving secret messages is just the start. We don’t even know the full implications. Just a scattering of headlines this week points to the weird behavior of quantum mechanics stretches our understanding of time and space. Photons that are entangled before they even exist? Making a quantum computer out of good old fashioned silicon? We also see quantum technology mentioned in far-future devices: teleportation, time travel, etc.

Right now we look at the quantum computing age and compare it to the last technological sea change, the internet or dotcom age. Sure, it will make spies happy, but what about us? But, the quantum age may be like nothing on the historic charts, even beyond the civilization-molding steps of discovering fire and agriculture. I look at it more like the discovery of language, instead of discovering how to symbolically talk about reality, though, this quantum language will allow us to actually talk to our reality (or realities).

And maybe it will talk back.



When Money Speaks, The Surreal Quantum World Gets Real


Most people think that quantum computers are vaporware.

Quantum computers are theoretical devices that manipulate quantum states — called qubits — to conduct operations that are way faster than normal computers.

For years, most folks made sure to bold and add quote marks to that “theoretical” part. For years, those who doubted quantum computers had plenty of room for dismissal–and plenty of company. Quantum computers just seemed to exist on paper.

But quantum computing just got real.

How do I know? Money talks.

The thing is, quantum bits — or qubits — can be easily disturbed. They’re not as hardy as their unexponential classical brethren, the lowly bit.

But when researchers do figure it out, those qubits can be mighty powerful, I used to tell these Doubting Quantumases. If you put one bit and one bit together, you get two bits. But if you but a qubit and a qubit together, you get 2(n). Because of superposition, the qubit can be a 1 and an 0 and pretty much anything in between. At the same time.

But that sounded weird.

So no one really believed this was possible.

And those people, if they’re not careful are going to be like the folks that told Henry Ford to get a horse and invested heavily in buggy whips.

Dwave, makers of what some believe is the first commercially available quantum computer, got some heavy hitting investors recently.

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How Will Quantum Computing Affect Finance?


This is a mind experiment.

But it starts out with some facts.

In a recent announcement, a company called Dwave detailed that certain quantum effects are behind its latest technological breakthrough. Without getting too technical, Dwave is trying to develop a quantum computer. A quantum computer uses the, frankly, spooky ability for a quantum bit, or qubit, to be in multiple position for computational processes.  This superposition leads to staggering amounts of processing power.

For each qubit, the processing potential increases exponentially.

Dwave says they have mastered an annealing quantum processes, which isn’t quite complete quantum computing, but is close and results in much higher processing power.

So what would the increased computing power of Dwave’s or any quantum computer mean for traders and investors.

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What’s The Spin On Quantum Dots

Quantum Dots

Quantum dots are essentially semiconductors that have an enormous control over electrons. This ability to control electrons just took a new dramatic leap forward when the National Institute of Nanotechnology at the University of Alberta announced that they created the smallest quantum dot.

Previously, quantum dots could only be used in low temperature settings; this new technology does not.

This is how the invention is described at Science Daily:

Often referred to as artificial atoms, quantum dots have previously ranged in size from 2-10 nanometers in diameter.  While typically composed of several thousand atoms, all the atoms pool their electrons to “sing with one voice”, that is, the electrons are shared and coordinated as if there is only one atomic nucleus at the centre.  That property enables numerous revolutionary schemes for electronic devices

What does this mean in a practical, dollars and cents, terms. It means that quantum dot revolution could be at a tipping point. If so it means the following innovations could get a boost:

  • Quantum information processing (quantum computing)
  • Better solar cells
  • More energy-efficient electronics
  • Medical markers
  • Improved light emitting devices

Most of these innovations address the underlying fundamentals that will pave the way to the Singularity: energy and information processing. Whether quantum dot technology promotes this type of functions, remains to be seen. But, each quantum spin of the wheel draws us closer to our destination.


Accelerating Technology for 2009

This wonderful post on Broader Perspective Blog has some great predictions for 2009. Unlike financial markets, predicting the future of technology is much more certain It’s pretty exciting to look at these predictions and then come back at the end of next year and see how everything turned out.

One popular challenge with Accelerating Technology is that there is a limit at some point. For example, the size of transistors on computer chips is now 39 nm. The naysayers complain, “You can’t get too small, because there is a limit on how small a transistor on the chip can be. In a few years, they will not be able to make them any smaller.”

Although this argument is valid, it overlooks one small detail. There may be a limit to the size of a transistor, but there is no limit to human ingenuity. What has happened before, and what will happen again, is that a new paradigm or method or strategy will be developed that will replace the current technology.

In the past, there were vacuum tubes instead of transistors, and in the future we will have 3D chips or Quantum Computing , or some other technology that we may not even know about now. And, it may just be my own stupid belief, and you have to decide if you believe it or not, but I think anything is possible. What we don’t have now, we will have tomorrow. What we don’t have tomorrow we will have the following day.

All roads lead to the singularity. Enjoy the trip!

There is one small challenge, with the infinite possibility, of the singularity. It promises to give us everything that we want. But only for those in the know. If it will give you anything that you ask, what would you ask for?