The age of the quantum computer and its nearly simultaneous billion operations is upon us. It crept over the horizon of possibility with Lockheed Martin’s purchase of such a device for use in its worldwide security services. What does it do and how does it work?
Well since it is a security device, it’s a secret. However, David Vranicar, writing for www.TechNewsWorld.com (see links below) offers this simple description of quantum computing. “Traditional computers rely on information stored as zeros and ones. Together, the 0s and 1s form bits. Machines that use quantum technology, however, have a different type of bit. Unlike a conventional bit, a quantum bit, or “qubit,” has the physical properties of an atom. And because of an atom’s’ ability to be in dual states, a qubit can simultaneously be 0 and 1.
“A qubit, in this sense, is a coin resting on its edge, capable of going either way and, as a result, performing at a higher level than conventional bits.” – which Vranicar compares to a string of heads or tails coin flips. He says, “30 quantum bits can allow a billion 10^9 operations at once. Whereas, a gate with 30 classical bits does only one operation.” That means doing much, much more computing with less and doing it much, much faster.
However, Kaila Colbin in an Online Spin column (A Million Views On YouTube — And Other Lotto Wins) points out the conundrum of the more content available the less chance of any specific content being seen. Just as our ability to “friend” thousands via social media doesn’t increase the average persons ability to maintain more than 150 “meaningful” relationships.
Evolution may solve that in the future.
Chinese research found that teenagers addicted to computing (more than 30 hours on the computer per week) actually evidenced changes in their brain functions. However, a Pew Research Center survey about the future of the Internet, “technology experts and stakeholders were fairly evenly split as to whether the younger generation’s always-on connected to people and information will turn out to be a net positive or a net negative by 2020, ” as summarized by a Center For Media Research Brief, “The Impact of Hyperconnectivity.”
Whatever the impact, it appears we will rely on search engines and other aggregators of content to filter the flood of our incoming Internet data.
Quantum computer links: