A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer by George Johnson

By George Johnson

During this remarkably illustrative and carefully obtainable examine essentially the most interesting frontiers in technology and pcs, award-winning manhattan occasions author George Johnson unearths the attention-grabbing international of quantum computing—the holy grail of great pcs the place the computing energy of unmarried atoms is harnassed to create machines in a position to nearly unbelievable calculations within the blink of an eye.As desktop chips proceed to lower in measurement, scientists expect the top of the line: a working laptop or computer within which every one change is created from a unmarried atom. any such machine might function less than a unique set of actual legislation: The legislation of quantum mechanics. Johnson lightly leads the curious outsider in the course of the strangely easy rules had to comprehend this dream, discussing the present kingdom of the revolution, and eventually assessing the amazing strength those machines can have to alter our international.

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During this remarkably illustrative and carefully obtainable examine probably the most interesting frontiers in technological know-how and pcs, award-winning long island instances author George Johnson finds the attention-grabbing global of quantum computing—the holy grail of large desktops the place the computing strength of unmarried atoms is harnassed to create machines able to nearly unbelievable calculations within the blink of a watch.

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Several years Prologue 11 later came the Trinity explosion and, before long, a nuclear power industry. Harnessing quantum computing is expected to take at least that long. But with each small milestone, the possibilities grow. For those of us watching from the sidelines, the development of this new kind of computing may be one of the most engaging and important scientific dramas of the century. The ticket for admission is a rough feel for the basic ideas of computation and quantum mechanics, and a willingness to suspend disbelief.

They look down on books like The Dancing Wu-Li Masters and The Tao of Physics, which suggest that the ambiguous nature of quantum matter is connected with the duality of Eastern religion-yin and yang and all that. There is little reason to suppose that the precise truths of quantum the­ ory can be divined through meditation or anything other than the hard route physics took: observing how nature behaves and devising a theory-the only possible theory, it seems-that makes sense of it. But there is no getting around the fact that quantum theory is very weird.

Only years later would I real­ ize that an utterly profound idea was slowly insinuating itself into my head: a computer is indeed just a box with a bunch of switches. The Geniac was "semiautomatic," as the manual put it: You had to turn the dials by hand to light the lights. And to "reprogram" the machine, you had to unscrew nuts with the "spintite" and shift the wires around. But suppose that some of the bulbs were replaced with little motors. When activated by the proper combination of settings, the motors could turn switches on other Geniacs, which would cause the dials on still other Geniacs to spin.

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