Will Quantum Computing Actually Work?

The story of the quantum computer is fascinating not just because of the technology involved, but because of its ties into politics, economic theory, corporate/government partnership, the government shutdown, the role of the religious right in undermining science education in the US, and the accelerating pace of dynamism.

If this technology can be reproduced on a commercial scale it will make the Internet look almost trivial. From Wired:

Built by a Canadian company called D-Wave, this quantum machine is one of only two in use around the world. Early research involving the system took a bit of a hit during the government shutdown last month, but things are now back up and running, with both NASA and Google running tests to better understand what the machine is actually capable of doing.

As Google runs its races, NASA is running simulations that could feed the International Space Station project and various supercomputing efforts. It’s an exciting time, says Rupak Biswas, the deputy director of the Exploration Technology Directorate at Ames: the dawn of the quantum computing age.

The D-Wave machine couldn’t be more different from the average computer. The thing won’t work unless it’s shielded from the Earth’s magnetic field. Parts of it get cooled to near absolute zero. And, because it must be carefully calibrated, you need about a month to boot it up. But the inner-workings of the system are still a bit of a mystery, and it’s not even clear whether this creation should be considered a true quantum computer.

More from Wired on how quantum computing works.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

Posted in Economics

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