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 Hydrogen molecule falls to quantum computer

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richard09

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PostSubject: Hydrogen molecule falls to quantum computer   Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:29 pm

This is exciting, for some value of interest. It looks like quantum computing may actually turn into a real thing.

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NoCoPilot

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PostSubject: Re: Hydrogen molecule falls to quantum computer   Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:04 pm

I admit to being completely baffled what "quantum computing" is all about -- at the quantum level events are unstable, so how could math rely on anything indeterminate?
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richard09

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PostSubject: Re: Hydrogen molecule falls to quantum computer   Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:52 am

The basic idea is that all our computing efforts (to date) revolve around bits, a term which is actually short for binary digits. A bit can be on or off, 1 or 0. Inside the computer, bits are usually represented by electrical charges or currents, in an optical computer by flashes of light. But whatever the physical implementation, it still represents these binary quantities, that have just two possible states.

But suppose we could use quantum-level particles to represent bits? In the quantum world, you don't have just two states, you actually have three - on, off, and superposition. These new bits are called qubits, to distinguish them from the regular ones. It doesn't sound that useful, but having three possible states changes the basic logic that you can use, and means you can develop different sorts of algorithms, that turn out to be very powerful. A quantum computer can tackle problems that are just physically impossible to do with a regular computer, because it can do them so much faster (because the algorithms are so much more efficient).

Except that it's all pretty much theoretical, so far. Actually isolating and taming particles so that you can use them as qubits is very difficult, as you say. So while theoreticians have been thinking about what we might be able to do with a quantum computer, actually doing anything has been wishful thinking, since we are lacking actual physically real quantum computers. But people are trying to make them real.

Which is why this story is exciting. It's about an actual quantum computer tackling an actual real calculation. We seem to be at the cusp, moving from the theoretical to the practical. History in the making.
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PostSubject: Re: Hydrogen molecule falls to quantum computer   Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:12 pm

The speed at which quantum computers are theoretically capable is astounding.

But my question is: What are they going to do with all that data they produce? There is currently no technology for capturing the data at the speeds at which it could be produced. Nor is there anything on the horizon with the required speed.

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PostSubject: Re: Hydrogen molecule falls to quantum computer   Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:45 pm

Moore's Law
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_Howard
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PostSubject: Re: Hydrogen molecule falls to quantum computer   Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:51 pm

...is not applicable.
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