What's all this about a quantum computing breathrough?



Google thinks they just about have it? IBM says that they can do better (more accurate) with a regular supercomputer, but still they would take 2.5 days instead of 10 min. (quantum computing) to do a task that would take many years on a regular computer.


Any thoughts on this? I think the world will change phenomenally if/when quantum computing becomes available.

An extraneous thought: Do you think a quantum computer could get to the bottom of pi?

I haven’t read it, but are people still talking about “the singularity” and does this get us closer?



Interesting. I was just hoping for some more prosaic advantages of computing power as great as what is suspected to be available with quantum computing.

But yeah, we sure might be closer to true artificial intelligence with the development of quantum computing. Then, who knows what can happen?


I recall, some years back, there was some real terror about the prospect of AI developing to a point where it would be superior to humans, and take literal control of the world without our even being aware until it was too late.


There have been too many topics to keep up with. Are people still saying that?

A related, and I think more likely, problem is how AI will threaten a huge percentage of jobs … I’ve heard estimates of 30-50% within the next couple of decades.

And the AI Revolution will be fundamentally different from the turn-of-the-century Industrial Revolution. The inventions of electric power, lightbulbs and machinery displaced some rural workers, but created employment for millions of urban workers. Conditions were difficult but ultimately led to more jobs.

But AI can do vehicle driving, surgery, food preparation, medical testing, and much other work in ways that will replace humans without the corresponding job creation. It’s scary.


Then, who knows what can happen?
So long as you feed the computer.

Then the river runs dry,

the turbines stop,

the wires stop humming

then what?


That’s pretty scary too. eh?

I am not afraid of AI. But then, I am not likely to be around long enough to experience much of its impact.

Quantum computing, about the only thing wilder than CERN to wrap one’s head around. I’ve read a few articles but can’t comprehend the thing at all.

So lets take a moment to delve into the doubting mind.

I keep hearing about all it can do, but then when they get to the how, it always seems like a crazy black box. I mean like silicon microchips are complex, but fundamentally they are easy to understand and visualize their various components and why they do what they do. That sort of thing. Like a vehicle makes sense, even if today’s complexities leave us in the dust.

But quantum computing descriptions always seems to come down to a black box, this swarm of electrons and fields that hold information, I mean wft.

And we’re going to harness that? But hey, they say they are doing it, sort of, I guess, at least I think that’s what they’re telling us.

They keep making progress.

So here we have an example of my belief vs. facts on the ground.


At 4:00 she starts explain it, sort of, …Okay you just need to control SuperPosition. Yeah right. Got it. That’s it, cool. smirk wtf

7:20 how to go about that. All you need is having microwaves you can use to control the quantum state. Seriously!? It’s just too weird, can’t believe we can control the quantum soup. But that was what she’s explaining to me.

Well then they pull this sciencie thing,

https://www.ibm.com/quantum-computing/technology/experience/ -

and basically challenge me, if you don’t believe it, come on down and learn about it for real, see for yourself.


A rational personal such as myself (:wink: ) can not pretend that isn’t there. I can’t go back to dredge up and repeat all those statistics and opinions, etc 'proving" quantum computing’s impossible and all that stuff that’s in my mind, or in this case my gut. In my gut its still a black box that I can’t imagine relying on, but here’s the difference between me and a Faith-Shackled, I appreciate that I must acknowledge I speak from ignorance and personal faith in this matter based on my limited understanding.

If it mattered to me, (that is the honest, curious, rational person), I would be compelled to spend some time at that website and learn about it before going on about how I simply can’t conceive of such a thing.

As it is, it doesn’t matter to me, I appreciate its beyond my abilities, I also appreciate that experts are experts, and I’m fine with tossing in the towel. Okay so it actually does work. And be left to contemplate my limitations. :wink:

And that feels okay, it’s not an affront to self-esteem. Live and learn, it’s okay.

Still, you know, to me, I still can’t help wondering if it’s like FusionPower, more tinkerers dream than feasible solution for anything.

Big money sometimes gets lost in projects that are just too sexy to turn back from, yet in the end …

You know, the Hindenburg was feasible too, but that didn’t mean it had much of a future.

Just say’n :wink:



True. We won’t know for sure til it happens, and maybe not right away, even then. And it might not happen at all, for real. And reliance on technology really might eventually doom us (tho we are a ways down that road, already).

Yeah, but it’s still crazy stuff to think about. Fun topic.


I didn’t realize how far along they were, it’s good to catch up now and then.

As I understand it a quantum computer differs from a regular computer in only a single, but very important way. This will be a tad dry, but you need a little background to truly be able to understand it.

Computers work off “bits”, little pieces of information that can hold only 2 possible types of information, a 0 or a 1. They are exactly like an on/off switch. The bit can be on (1) or off (0). It’s really mind boggling to imagine that, technically, if you could flip the switches fast enough, you could do everything a computer does with just millions, these days perhaps billions, of toggle switches. It really is just about that simplistic at its base.

A single bit, by itself, isn’t really useful for anything but logical operations. It can be on or off, 1 or 0, true or false. But when you group bits together they can hold much more information. In fact, each time you add a single bit, you double the amount of information which can be stored. The chart below should help to understand that. I will us O for on and X for off.

O = 0

X = 1

So, as you see, one bit can hold exactly two possibilities. Now lets add a second bit

OO = 0

OX = 1

XO = 2

XX = 3

Adding a single bit we go from 2 possibilities to 4, which makes sense if you thing of it like (2 + 2), but that’s not what’s happening. It’s 2 times 2. Add a third bit and you have 8 possibilities, a 4th and you have 16 and so on.

In a computer bits are generally grouped into bytes, a group of exactly 8 bits. And bytes can be grouped together as well. Modern processors are 4 byte (64 bit) processors, meaning the communication bus for it carries 64 bits of information simultaneously in a single “tick” of the processor. The processor speed (in gigahertz) describes how many “ticks” there are in a single second.

Okay, you have the background, so we can move on to the difference. For a regular processor 8 bits is 256 possibilities, 0-255. When you do math on those bits you get an absolute answer for each bit. Every bit IS either a 0 or a 1. The way a quantum processor differs is that each bit can be a 0 and a 1 simultaneously. Now here is where my lack of knowledge in higher mathematics (man, I regret that!) is going to make the explanation a little fuzzy, but as I understand it this lets you do multiple mathematical operations all at the same time. So, for instance, if I wanted to figure out what 2 times X was were X was all the whole numbers from 1 to, say, 100, in a normal computer that would take 100 ticks of the processor. But since each bit in a quantum computer can be both a 1 and a 0 at the same time I can do all 100 mathematical operations in a single tick of the processor. Instead of setting X as 1 to start with, then changing it to 2 and so on, I set X as 1 and 2 and 3, etc., so I get 100 answers to 100 questions all asked and answered at the same time, as a single question rather than 100 separate questions. So in this case, a quantum computer running at the exact same speed would be 100x faster than a regular computer (but ONLY in this particular instance. If I instead set X to every whole number from 1 to 200 then it would be 200 times faster in that case).

The exact speed difference wouldn’t be entirely measurable. It would depend on the number of questions you asked at the same time. Instead the speed would be up to X times faster. So, if it were a 64 bit quantum computer vs a 64 bit computer, theoretically (as I understand it), it would be up to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807x faster (the maximum value for a 64 bit number), IF you had a question (mathematical operation) which used the entirety of the 64 bits available AND it ran at the exact same speed otherwise.

That’s my understanding, anyway. I, too, am a little hazy on the details.

Good teaching moment, Lefty. Seriously.

Not being Schrodinger’s cat, however, I cannot fathom how something can be a 0 and a 1 at the same time.

Wait, am I Lefty? Yeah, I don’t know how that part works either, but supposedly it’s able to give you every possible answer simultaneously. One of the biggest advantages is going to be the search for prime numbers. You can do all the calculations at once, as I understand it. It’s supposedly going to destroy cryptography as we know it because the math is based on prime numbers. Again, not really an area I have a lot of knowledge in.

An endearment I’m sure.

Sweet no more secrets. : - \

Do you think a quantum computer could get to the bottom of pi?
I never thought of it quite like that.

So if we get to the bottom of pi, does that mean we’ll finally figure out what’s holding up those turtles?


An inquiring mind wants to know. ;-p

a quantum computer differs from a regular computer in only a single, but very important way.
And I thought the difference was between silicon chips and a blackbox of a quantum cloud, or something like that.

Oh yeah and it bits aren’t limited to 0 and 1 - they can be both one and zero at the same time. Or, if I heard it right, they aren’t even limited to 0 - 1 - 0/1, they can be other things too. Oh, oh I can feel that steam starting to escape through my ears, this is where the overheating gets too much and I need to shut it down.

;- )

Are you not left handed, Widdershins?

I am not, and what an odd thing to ask. Just all out of the blue like that. Not that I find it offensive or anything, just, why would you think that?

My father was left handed as a child, interestingly. That was back in the days when being different was an aberration requiring smackings to the offending hand with rulers until one complied with normalcy.

But I’m assuming this has something to do with the way I speak and how you perceive my brain to work and based on right brain/left brain studies? You may find it interesting that I have zero, and I do mean ZERO artistic talent of any sort (well, maybe I can create music in my head once in a while), but if you give me a CAD program where I can plot precise lines and circles on precise points, then I can make something.

You are left leaning politically, like me. And your name is Widdershins. (lefty loosey) I wrongly assumed you would be left handed too.

No, it’s from a poem by Aliester Crowly from his book, Konx Om Pax. I’m not a huge poetry guy, but I love that poem. Here’s how it startes:

I see o’ nights among the whins

The devil walking widdershins

For a time in my youth I was entertaining the notion that there might be something to the occult. I’ve always been a “see for myself” kind of guy, not willing to dismiss something until I checked it out for myself. That’s not entirely the case any more. When it comes to scientific theory, I simply defer to the experts because I came to the conclusion that I am not educated enough to understand why, for example, a biologist believes what a biologist believes about a scientific subject. And when it comes to the paranormal I looked into claim after claim after claim and every time it was the same. It was all wild conclusions based, not on the evidence, but what they wanted the evidence to say. So I eventually simply came to the conclusion that there was nothing there, there never would be anything there and, if that ever changed, reputable scientists would be the ones to tell me it had changed.