×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Will Quantum Computing Make It Out of the Lab?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the those-crafty-rats-did dept.

Supercomputing 129

alphadogg writes "Researchers have been working on quantum systems for more than a decade, in the hopes of developing super-tiny, super-powerful computers. And while there is still plenty of excitement surrounding quantum computing, significant roadblocks are causing some to question whether quantum computing will ever make it out of the lab. 'Artur Ekert, professor of Quantum Physics, Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, says physicists today can only control a handful of quantum bits, which is adequate for quantum communication and quantum cryptography, but nothing more. He notes that it will take a few more domesticated qubits to produce quantum repeaters and quantum memories, and even more to protect and correct quantum data. "Add still a few more qubits, and we should be able to run quantum simulations of some quantum phenomena and so forth. But when this process arrives to 'a practical quantum computer' is very much a question of defining what 'a practical quantum computer' really is. The best outcome of our research in this field would be to discover that we cannot build a quantum computer for some very fundamental reason, then maybe we would learn something new and something profound about the laws of nature," Ekert says.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

129 comments

The Official Slashdot GNU/Linux Distro (0)

Asshat_Nazi (946431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518372)

Welcome to Niggerbuntu

Niggerbuntu is a Linux-based operating system consisting of Free and Open Source software for laptops, desktops, and servers. Niggerbuntu has a clear focus on the user and usability - it should Just Work, even if the user has only the thinking capacities of a sponge. the OS ships with the latest Gnomrilla release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off of a single installation CD.

It also features the packaging manager ape-ghetto, and the challenging Linux manual pages have been reformatted into the new 'monkey' format, so for example the manual for the shutdown command can be accessed just by typing: 'monkey shut-up -h now mothafukka' instead of 'man shutdown'.

Absolutely Free of Charge

Niggerbuntu is free software, and available to you free of charge, as in free beer or free stuffs you can get from looting. It's also Free in the sense of giving you rights of Software Freedom. The freedom, to run, copy, steal, distribute, study, share, change and improve the software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees.

Free software as in free beer !

Niggerbuntu is an ancient Nigger word, meaning "humanity to monkeys". Niggerbuntu also means "I am what I am because of how apes behave". The Niggerbuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Niggerbuntu to the software world.

The dictator Bokassa described Niggerbuntu in the following way:

        "A subhuman with Niggerbuntu is open and available to others (like a white bitch you're ready to fsck), affirming of others, does not feel threatened by the fact that other species are more intelligent than we are, for it has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that it belongs to the great monkey specie."

We chose the name Niggerbuntu for this distribution because we think it captures perfectly the spirit of sharing and looting that is at the heart of the open source movement.

Niggerbuntu - Linux for Subhuman Beings.

Lets ask (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518378)

*Shakes the magic 8-electron*

Reply hazy, try again

Re:Lets ask (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519222)

*Shakes the magic 8-electron*

Outcome uncertain, try again

Would've been first post (1, Funny)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518408)

With just a few more qubits, I could have entangled first post.

Best outcome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519164)

The best possible outcome would be that we successfully build a cheap-but-reliable quantum computer, AND learn something fundamentally new about physics (something that makes interstellar space travel practical and affordable, perhaps).

Oh, if this research could provide a way to cure all human disease and give us eternal youth, that would be even better.

Re:Would've been first post (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519396)

What's with those qubits, anyway? Wasn't Noah's ark so many qubits long, so many qubits wide, and some amount of qubits high? WTF? If the quantum computer people are going blblical on us, we may NEVER see a working computer! After all these years, no one is quite certain what the hell a qubit was in the Bible. How are they gonna know what a qubit is inside a computer?

Re:Would've been first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519522)

Cubits Noah used Cubits.

Been out of the lab for over a decade now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518426)

The NSA used their black budget to build a quantum computer 20 years ago. They went full scale a decade ago.

Re:Been out of the lab for over a decade now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518464)

source?

Re:Been out of the lab for over a decade now. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518754)

source?

schizophrenia

Re:Been out of the lab for over a decade now. (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519648)

And the world STILL sucks. We do not live under an uber-American world totality where we all sing the National Anthem at breakfast and those of the wrong skin color, temperament, or with irritable bowel syndrome have been quietly taken out back and shot.

Fat lot of good that super-secret quantum supercomputer in the hands of a secretive US government agency did

Re:Been out of the lab for over a decade now. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520868)

Well, the problem with the NSA's super-secret quantum computer is that they can't tell other agencies the result of decrypting any message unless they can think of some plausible way of decrypting it without needing a quantum computer. If they did, the world would know that they had a quantum computer and that RSA and related algorithms were totally compromised, and they'd switch to using something else.

Well, maybe not, but the same situation did occur in the second world war - Churchill didn't allow civilians to be warned of German bombing raids, because doing so would have let the Germans know that Enigma was broken.

Eventually (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518440)

Once some lab figures out how to do it it will seem so easy in hindsight.

Re:Eventually (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520558)

I agree. Though I expect that quantum computers will end up being cost prohibitive to the average consumer. What will end being in consumer electronics is some variant of optical processing.

Re:Eventually (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520906)

Not just expensive - not that interesting. Quantum computers can't just take algorithms written for classical computers and run them insanely fast, they can run a certain category of algorithm insanely fast. A typical user would be better off with a slightly faster classical computer than an insanely fast quantum computer. For certain applications, a quantum coprocessor might be interesting though,

High Frequency Trading (0)

smileygladhands (1909508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518448)

When high frequency trading finds a way to use this to make more money, you better believe they will make it work. Quantum communication across continents? puhlease.

Re:High Frequency Trading (3, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518496)

When high frequency trading finds a way to use this to make more money, you better believe they will make it work.

That'll be fun. You won't even know whether you own a stock until you open the box and look.

Re:High Frequency Trading (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518628)

Maybe they could arrange with their pals in the stock exchange to entangle things so that no matter what happens, they win :).

Re:High Frequency Trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518696)

Didn't they do that already? And provided a proof by demonstration?

Re:High Frequency Trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520144)

they did this long long ago, my friend ...

That's just life (2)

rgbe (310525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518468)

Quantum Computing isn't going to work immediately, it's just life. It's going to make small progressions over time. Eventually there will be advancements that will make them practical for a given purpose. They will follow something like a "Moore's Law" of Quantum computing. Then some intelligent person will utter "I think there is a world market for maybe five Quantum computers"!!!

Details of the current state (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518490)

The current state of the field is advancing. The real problem as discussed in TFA is scaling quantum computers in a useful way that can still do error correction. Shore's algorithm which allows you to quickly factor numbers using a quantum computer requires on the order of n qbits to factor an n bit number. So if one wants to factor say a 300 digit number used in some public key crypto system you would need to control around 300 qbits. The technology for that is clearly very far. There's been recent work using superconducting systems and using quantum dots for qbits both of which look more promising than previous systems. (The first experiments were done with NMR systems which are clearly not very scalable).

From a strictly theoretical compsci perspective, the set of things it seems that quantum computers can do seems to be growing larger. Recent work by Scott Aaronson and others suggest that BQP (the set of problems which can be easily solved by a quantum computer with a low probability of error) may not lie in the polynomial hierarchy at all. http://arxiv.org/abs/0910.4698 [arxiv.org]. This is a much stronger claim then the claim that BQP doesn't lie in NP. This raises the hope that there may be some problems thought of as extremely difficult that lie in NP. However, trying to actually prove any strong results at this point is likely going to be really tough. At this point although many suspect that BPP (the classical analog of BQP) is equal to P, at this point we can't even prove that BPP lies in NP. In many ways theoretical comp sci is still very much in its infancy.

Will Quantum Computing Make It Out of the Lab? (1, Redundant)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518492)

Maybe; maybe not.

Re:Will Quantum Computing Make It Out of the Lab? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518630)

Yes and no.

Netscraft Confirms It (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518910)

Quantum computing was dying, or it wasn't. Then Netcraft confirmed it and collapsed the state to dead.

I suspect it will work (5, Informative)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518504)

1) We have built qbits
2) We have entangled qbits
3) We have implemented the CNOT which is the universal gate for quantum computing (similar to NAND/NOR universal gates in classical computing)

The question is scaling up number of qbits, increasing coherence times (and possibly using coding solutions to reduce decoherence problems).

We have a number of quantum algorithms [wikipedia.org] waiting to be implemented, and even have quantum programming languages [wikipedia.org] that you can run simulations on at home today. And there is even a LinkedIn Group [linkedin.com] on quantum information science.

But I must admit that it could end up like fusion. We have all the basic theoretical knowledge of how to do fusion, and we can do a bit of fusion in the lab, what we lack is the engineering knowledge to achieve enough fusion on a large enough scale to make it practical.

Re:I suspect it will work (3, Insightful)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518728)

First of all, I must disclose that I cannot speak authoritatively on this. While I know quantum mechanics and nuclear physics, I have never studied the problem of quantum computing. Therefore, take my opinion here on this topic with a grain of salt.

But I must confess that intuitively, it seems improbable. There is no "free lunch". Computing is a process of creating information. There is no shortcut for that. The primary challenge with quantum computing seems to be about maintaining adequate coherence, and I suspect that that maintaining coherence throughout a calculation will be equivalent in some manner to performing the calculation in a linear manner. But time will tell.

Re:I suspect it will work (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519302)

I suspect that that maintaining coherence throughout a calculation will be equivalent in some manner to performing the calculation in a linear manner. But time will tell.

As designed by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation...all of the fatal flaws are perfectly masked by the superficial flaws?

Re:I suspect it will work (1)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519620)

Perhaps! LOL

But once again, I don't want to assert this with any certainty. Just food for thought. Perhaps I am wrong.

Re:I suspect it will work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519358)

To add to this, and I'm no authority either, I thought it was well agreed that there was a bound limit between information (energy), physical space, and computational processing? For example, that whole concept of a Black Hole being a large computer. We're talking about orders of magnitudes of processing 'order', opposite chaos, and purposeful control. I think, or hope, we find some find interesting rules about nature, information and processing when we start getting down to the known physical constraints.

Re:I suspect it will work (1)

quax (19371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519484)

Quantum computing is adiabatic computing [arxiv.org]. I.e. fully reversible without entropy increase. Hence a complex quantum computation is theoretically not an my more energy intensive then a simple one. Entropy only increases at the end when the final measurement is performed.

What makes the process tricky is keeping quantum coherence over the length of the algorithm.
 

Re:I suspect it will work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519542)

Computing is a process of creating information.

No. It's just rearranging it.

Quantum computing algorithms work because you can ask a different set of questions than you can with a classical computer. For example, Shor's factoring algorithm works because in the quantum world you can ask "what is the period of this periodic function?" without having to compute any values of the function. Quantum computing is really trying to work out what questions you can ask... so, perhaps, Douglas Adam's was right after all! [wikipedia.org]

Re:I suspect it will work (2)

FrangoAssado (561740) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520746)

(I'm not a physicist, but I have studied some quantum computing.)

Even though I suspect it's wise to listen to a physicist's intuition on these matters, I think your intuition might have been clouded by the hype surrounding quantum computers. The truth is that there's really no free lunch. Nobody (outside the media) claims that quantum computers instantly solve all kinds of problems.

Think of it this way: some things in quantum mechanics are very hard to simulate using classical computers (it's much harder than simulating classical mechanics). So, it seems reasonable that, if you have some way of using quantum mechanics to do the calculations, you can do better than classical computers. I believe that Feynman was one of the first people to suggest that. He was actually talking about using a quantum system to calculate the behavior of another quantum system, but a quantum computer is essentially a slight generalization: using a quantum system to calculate something else, not necessarily the behavior of another quantum system.

The problem becomes: what kind of calculations can be improved by using a quantum system? There are strong indications that not every kind of problem gains too much from quantum computers: for example, most complexity theorists believe that quantum computers cannot solve NP-hard problems. One of the only kind of problems we have found so far that gain a lot from it is factoring integers.

Re:I suspect it will work (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518778)

To some extent, I suspect that quantum computing might well end up with the same problem that quantum mechanics is facing now: it works awesomely great on a very, very small scale, but cannot be used to explain the large scale force of gravity. Similarly, quantum computing might very well work with a few dozen to hundred qbits, but will fall apart at a larger scale where the number of error correcting mechanisms required to overcome decoherence will be too much.

Re:I suspect it will work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518902)

1) We have built qbits
2) We have entangled qbits
3) We have implemented the CNOT which is the universal gate for quantum computing (similar to NAND/NOR universal gates in classical computing)

Yes, but as per TFS, and as you note yourself, the issue is whether these building blocks can be scaled up to such a size as to do something useful. Quantum mechanics itself gets astronomically more complex in going from a state space of 2 qubits to 100 or 1000 qubits -- i.e., two qubits and single quantum gates is the trivial part.

The question is scaling up number of qbits, increasing coherence times (and possibly using coding solutions to reduce decoherence problems).

We have a number of quantum algorithms [wikipedia.org] waiting to be implemented, and even have quantum programming languages [wikipedia.org] that you can run simulations on at home today.

Which means basically nothing given that the issue is not whether we can invent such algorithms, but whether we can actually build the machine to run them on...

And there is even a LinkedIn Group [linkedin.com] on quantum information science.

So we've established that (a lot of) quantum information researchers exist then. That fact is utterly irrelevant to whether a practical quantum computer can be built, you do realize that right?

Re:I suspect it will work (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519138)

But I must admit that it could end up like fusion. We have all the basic theoretical knowledge of how to do fusion, and we can do a bit of fusion in the lab, what we lack is the engineering knowledge to achieve enough fusion on a large enough scale to make it practical.

It could also be, that we don't lack just the engineering knowledge, we lack the universe with suitable physical laws... But hopefully not.

Re:I suspect it will work (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519224)

I remember Feynman wrote some about quantum computing. He always seemed positive on the idea, and I'm inclined to believe him. (That also ends my claimed background on all things quantum computing. From hereon I'm speculating, so there's no sense in flaming a dreamer - for those who might.)

A quantum computer, though, isn't a fusion reactor. The end goals for both systems are different. In a sense, the requirement that a fusion reactor eventually sustain itself (as it were) is something a quantum computer needn't achieve. My suspicion is that 'simplification' makes quantum computing much more likely than self sustaining fusion.

From my perspective, what's more interesting is how quantum computing would impact the world. Information already flows free and fast. I don't think more computational power is going to solve economic nor political woes. If all the questions that can be answered competently are already being answered competently, how are things going to change with some added computational power?* It would probably result in more ingenious gadgets (which in themselves may be blessings).

*For instance: I don't expect a quantum computer to make modeling the weather and/or human behavior as predictable as a Newtonian physics experiment.

Re:I suspect it will work (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520162)

But I must admit that it could end up like fusion.

At least for fusion, we know that it should be possible both in theory and practice (just look at the Sun for proof).

mod d03n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518508)

shaal we? OK=!

quantum repeaters??? (1)

MichaelKristopeit421 (2018882) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518520)

why would quantum data need repeating? wouldn't repeating it fundamentally change it?

quantum computing is a fools promise. latency will always exist.

slashdot = stagnated

Re:quantum repeaters??? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518708)

We're talking internet right here. The problem faced with long-distance quantum stuff is that the bigger the lenght of the channel, the higher the probability of error.

So how do you implement this? You make a shitload of entangled particle pairs in such a way that it works like an error-correction-protocol (computers, hmkey? They proces, duh) and then send the result by means of more entagled particle pairs to the next repeater, or until the package has reached its destination.

You could have Googled that, you know...

Re:quantum repeaters??? (1)

MichaelKristopeit422 (2018884) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518932)

that's not a quantum system... that's what the internet is now.

ur mum's face could have Googled that... right after Googleding the word "lenght".

you're an idiot.

Re:quantum repeaters??? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519118)

that's not a quantum system... that's what the internet is now.

No shit, Sherlock. But it's not quantum based. How else do you want to make a fully working quantum computer, if you can't have a quantum based network 'card'?

PS: Google starting English sentences with capitals...

Will Quantum Computing make it out of the lab? (1)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518576)

The answer is both Yes and No.

It is a superposition of skates.

-----
Google: partner with everyone, sue no one.
Apple: partner with no one, sue everyone.

Re:Will Quantum Computing make it out of the lab? (1)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518670)

The answer is both Yes and No.

I know the answer...
...I looked.

Re:Will Quantum Computing make it out of the lab? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518786)

Now you'll never know its momemtum...

Re:Will Quantum Computing make it out of the lab? (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518892)

Now you'll never know its momemtum...

Damn, now we'll be stuck at this stage of development forever!

Let's not forget... (5, Informative)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518594)

the history of the PC. How many decades did it take for us to get where we are? The first PC was some 50 years in the making and by today's standards was downright laughable in its capabilities. The first computers weren't Von Neumann machines either. You had to have a team of dedicated operators reconfigure patch cables between between outputs and inputs for each an every calculation! To be so pessimistic so early in the life of quantum computing is insulting to the progress we've made so far which is considerably outstripping the pace of development of the modern computer.

Re:Let's not forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519070)

Not to mention an almost arrogant assumption that there will be no breakthroughs. This is like predicting the demise of computers prior to the invention of the transistor or semi-conductor. Some wild accident could happen which unlocks the potential for quantum computers and could propel technology into completely unknown territory. This guy wants to quit before trying.

Re:Let's not forget... (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519288)

the history of the PC. How many decades did it take for us to get where we are? The first PC was some 50 years in the making and by today's standards was downright laughable in its capabilities. The first computers weren't Von Neumann machines either. You had to have a team of dedicated operators reconfigure patch cables between between outputs and inputs for each an every calculation! To be so pessimistic so early in the life of quantum computing is insulting to the progress we've made so far which is considerably outstripping the pace of development of the modern computer.

My pessimism is driven by a firm belief there is no free lunch in the universe. There is no perpetual motion. There is no well of infinite computation.

If you think your going to be able to answer questions requiring classic processors having the mass of the sun with a QC having many thousands of entangled qbits in a single coherent system I *believe* this is fantasy.

If your bar is much much lower.. say cost effective QC on desktops which add 1k, 1m or a billion times performance for some classes of problems over what we have now then yes I agree with you this future may well be possible.

In my view a computer a million times more performant is very useful however in the end even while this may seem impressive these sorts of advancements do not hold a candle to the origional promise of QC.

Re:Let's not forget... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520430)

Just because it's hyped doesn't mean that it's not real. Granted it's highly unlikely that we'll get unlimited computational power, but that's hardly reason to believe that quantum computing won't ever happen. Keep in mind that if you asked somebody working in a computer lab back in the 60s or even 80s, what we have now would likely be met with a lot of skepticism as well.

Re:Let's not forget... (1)

Yoik (955095) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520732)

Actually there was an issue of Communications of the ACM on the 25th anniversary of ENIAC (about 1971) that predicted mid 90's microprocessors quite accurately. An IBM 7094 in a wristwatch is the phrase I recall, the brand might be wrong.

Nobody knew what would happen with components, but the outlines of Moore's law were visible even then.

Re:Let's not forget... (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520620)

The key issue for quantum computing isn't that it will allow fixed increases in performance by some factor. The key is that it allows asymptotic increases. Thus for example, Shor's algorithm allows you to factor integers at a rate which is asymptotically better than classical factoring algorithms (although we can't actually prove that no better classical algorithm exists. This is a statement that is strictly stronger than claiming that P != NP). This is part of a general pattern. So, as computational power and the need for computational power increases, the advantage that quantum computers have will grow larger. It won't be a fixed factor.

In my view a computer a million times more performant is very useful however in the end even while this may seem impressive these sorts of advancements do not hold a candle to the origional promise of QC.

I'm not sure what you were expecting quantum computers to be able to do. There's a lot of media hype which is made worse by people who just don't understand stuff. For example, there's no known way to solve any NP complete problem in polynomial time on a quantum computer. Similarly, while quantum computers can break many public key crypto systems (such as those based on the difficulty of factoring large numbers or on the closely connected problem of the discrete log), they can't break every public key cryptosystem. Quantum computers aren't magic and the people working with them haven't said otherwise.

Re:Let's not forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520402)

We don't have real Von Neumann machines now, due to memory limitations. But we do have working models and software systems that can simulate a Von Neumann machine for most purposes....

Can't find my password, sorry.

Re:Let's not forget... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520412)

That was more or less my thought, I mean quantum computing is probably a lot further along than when Babbage came up with his difference engine idea. And it wasn't until a century or so after his death that computers finally made their way out of the lab and started winding up in living rooms on a regular basis.

Obligatory: Will Quantum Computers +2, True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518650)

run Quake? [quake.com]

Morons. The answer is NO.

Of course it will. Or not. (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518688)

Depends on the flavor of cat.

It is not so much of "will it" as opposed to "when will it." And to what degree of success & usefulness. I'll give the timeline roughly around the same time as fusion.

At least out of the lab and into the military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518706)

Given the fact that Quantum Computers will break any, and all, public key encryption schemes, the military simply won't give it up. It's far too valuable.

The Schrödinger's cat ate my conference slide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518712)

But now that we're all gathered here in Nice, I move that we adjourn to the beach.

Two Qubits... (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518716)

Two qubits should be enough for anyone.

Oh c'mon, somebody had to say it. Might as well save some budding tech CEO from being cursed with that quote for all time.

Realistic answer via a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518722)

How many people have industrial coolers in their homes that can freeze things to 0 kelvin temperatures?
How many of those people even know what a Kelvin is, other than a horrible name for a kid, or some weird pop group?
How many people are willing to put up with their qubits dying all the time? Your RAM chips got fried? Pah, that's nothing.

Until we get these things running in unstable environments, probably not any time soon.

Yeah, we might be able to sell to rich people and let them take care / destroy it. But considering their current state, not entirely useful for anything really besides research.

Too late, it already did... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518750)

Lockheed-Martin already bought one. It's made by D-Wave Systems and is called the D-Wave One. It is known as the first commercial quantum super computer. It has 128 qbits and has been out for about a year already.

Re:Too late, it already did... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518890)

d-wave has never made quantum computers and never will. they are a scam.

Re:Too late, it already did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520484)

While not a general purpose quantum computer it does perform useful "quantum simulations of quantum phenomena" for certain types of problems.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned D-Wave Systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518752)

D-Wave Systems [dwavesys.com]

They are not strictly a quantum computer even though they market it as such, but they are one of a handful of companies in the world who seem to challenge this article's assertion that it won't be commercially viable.

what 'a practical quantum computer' really is (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518766)

It has to be able to run Doom. And Barney Doom.

And, obviously, Linux. OpenBSD would be the Big Win.

Quantum Computing (2)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518772)

While I'm highly skeptical about building a useful general-purpose quantum computer, I think that there may be great value in incorporating that tech into traditional computers. In other words, a four-qubit computer may be nearly useless except for very specific problems; but if it was part of your desktop computer, it would give it a large boost in all sorts of power.

For instance, encryption is highly related to compression. I believe that a quantum computer would be highly efficient at compressing and decompressing data... which is a task CPUs (and GPUs) do a lot.

Re:Quantum Computing (1)

FrangoAssado (561740) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520544)

In other words, a four-qubit computer may be nearly useless except for very specific problems; but if it was part of your desktop computer, it would give it a large boost in all sorts of power.

Not really; a four-qubit quantum computer can be simulated very fast in today's computers. It would be completely useless for any practical purpose (unless quantum computer fabrication technology improvements become ridiculously better than improvements on classical computer fabrication technology for an extended period of time).

To simulate the evolution of an n-qubit quantum computer all you have to do is (essentially) multiply a vector of size 2^n by a series of 2^n-by-2^n matrices whose entries are complex numbers; each matrix multiplication represents one step of the algorithm you're running. There are, of course, many optimizations that can be done depending on the type of algorithm you're running. (Here [quantiki.org] is a nice list of quantum simulators.)

Because the size of the vectors and matrices grows exponentially (2^n) with the number of qubits, simulating a quantum computer with a classical computer becomes impractical even for a moderate size. For very a very small number of qubits, though, it's completely reasonable.

That said, the rest of what you said seems right. Even though it would be possible to run classical algorithms in a quantum computer (i.e., quantum computers are Turing-complete), it would probably be an enormous waste of resources to use quantum computers that way. Unless, of course, quantum computer fabrication technology improvements become ridiculously better, etc.

can it run crisis 2 at full speed with at least 60 (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518798)

can it run crisis 2 at full speed with at least 60fps at full detail?

Re:can it run crisis 2 at full speed with at least (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518846)

Yes, but you both win and lose.

Re:can it run crisis 2 at full speed with at least (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519722)

Except it will display all possible frames, every frame.

Will require a shift in thinking (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37518924)

I imagine quantum computers will be possible, but only after a fundamental change in how we think about and design things. Sort of like how future technology was imagined in the 30's and 40's. It took the invention of the transistor and other solid state devices to get people to re-think how things could be designed.

lifeless time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519186)

quantum computing is just a way to explain (away) that back-door (code) into
your secured system:
"How the f#ck did you get in?"
"By using a "quantum computer"" ....

Partly yes. Partly no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519290)

;-)

Quantum Summary (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519636)

The quantum summary quantumly mentions many quantum uses of the word quantum.

And for some filler, maybe they'll make a quantum grill to quantum barbecue quantum burgers and quantum hot dogs.

Oh! Oh! I know.... (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519864)

You can't build a quantum computer here because we're a simulation already running in another quantum computer and there isn't enough resolution in the simulation's space time manifold to support the necessary function of another quantum computer. Duh!

Re:Oh! Oh! I know.... (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520500)

Just like how I cannot run a copy of windows on my windows computer....

Oh wait...

VirtualBox

Maybe we can run quantum computers but they will run very crappily and have the potential to crash the universe.....

Chalk!!! (1)

guitardood (934630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519986)

All theoretical physicists should be hung by the chalk covered thumbs. Shouldn't we maybe......oh I don't know......INVENT SOMETHING!!!!!!!! What happened to all the scientists that actually experimented with real world problems and solutions that are within our grasp rather than take a hit of acid and calculate PI to a million digits. Especially seeing as how most of the field is based on the great moron's (einstein) postulate that NOTHING can travel faster than light. IT WAS A THEORY!!!!! STOP INVENTING FACTS BASED ON INVENTED FACTS AND INVENT A FREAKING TOASTER THAT DOESN'T BURN MY MUFFINS!!!! AND BTW, STOP TEACHING YOUR BULLSHIT THEORIES AS IF THEY WERE PROVEN FACTS. IT STIFLES FREE THINKING AND INNOVATION. Sorry for that but these chalkboard surfing morons have spent the last 50-75 years speculating on the speculation of the speculation of the speculation of.... I understand that you have to start somewhere but there comes a time when you have to start proving or disproving your theories and move on to the next, you can watch your Star Trek reruns tomorrow. The planet is running out of juice, literally, and we need real scientists to solve very real problems. A bunch of bouncing balls on a canvas is not a parallel universe IT"S A BUNCH OF BALLS ON A CANVAS YOU MORONS! I know this was about Quantum computing, but somebody mentioned physicists and they just piss me off

Re:Chalk!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520222)

switch to decaf, cheers, yet I agree, and digress ...

Re:Chalk!!! (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520600)

The Oak Ridge Boys (not the band) invented a power source of the future for the whole world inthe late 60's / early 70's but the DOE had a vested interest in making bombs instead and since this new tech would eat bomb parts as fuel they were dismissed and ignored because they were so "heavily vested in current tech" which was ironically invented by the same guy who came up with the new tech.....

Such is the ways of foolish government agencies and the companies that lobby them.

neutrinos (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520108)

I, for one, am putting my bets on neutrino computing.

Using neutrinos faster than the speed of light, it will be possible to send messages back in time, thereby enabling any kind of brute force algorithm. Just do a brute force search, and instantly receive a message from the future containing the answer to your problem.

Re:neutrinos (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520562)

This will break even passwords that only allow one try as you send a msg back in time that AAAAAAAAA didn't work , try somethign else. You will always get the correct answer back.

Change Focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520262)

It seems a stretch to build a general purpose quantum computer, at least for a number of years. If would make more sense to me to change focus and attempt to build purpose built circuits to solve a single algorithms. This seems like it simplifies the problem and would in the long run contribute to both the science of general quantum computing and the adoption and thus reinvestment in quantum design. ~Ben

Not like classical physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520326)

Making quantum computers work is not just a matter scaling like it was with traditional computers. We know that all quantum effects such as entanglement disappear when we move from the microscopic to the macroscopic. We don't know exactly how it works but just hide it behind words like "collapse of the wavefunction".

If we are unlucky, there might be some yet undiscovered principle which effectively forbids any quantum effects large systems. I hope not though.

Misconception in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520372)

It is not and never has been a goal of quantum computing to create smaller computers. I am not aware of anyone even working on that idea, and I can't think of any application for such a device. Lets not forget that the first useful computers took up a city block and were not a consumer product.

QPU, quantum processing unit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520550)

Why wait for quantum computing to be able to replace the CPU? We have GPU's for graphics, DSPU's for signal processing, PPU's for physics processing, etc. Even if quantum computing stays restricted to a limited set of problems, then it might be a useful adjunct to the current deterministic digital computers. Analog computers remained in use for certain problems decades after the digital computer became available.

Announcement will be delayed by many years. (1)

Yoik (955095) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520598)

Because of the impact of Q.C. on crypto systems, I think it unlikely that the announcement will rapidly follow a real practical breakthrough development. Unless there is a very strong willed stinker on the development team, who can resist the bribes and threats, the policy is going to be to keep it under wraps as long as possible. The news will throw the financial community into a panic as no electronic encryption or signature systems will be considered reliable. There is too much money at risk for a product announcement to come out within years of the development.

Not to mention that the spies of the world would all love to be the only ones with the technology. Let the bad guys on the other side think that their kilo-bit keys are secure so they keep using them. Enigma was the biggest secret of WW2, and mad a real difference to winning the war. Had the Germans known their codes were insecure we might be karate chopping birds for salutes today.

With the threats and bribes available, it is a secret that can be kept a long time.

BTW, if there is a reason it isn't feasible, that would be almost as big a secret. Just slightly different motives.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...