Quantum Computers: Unimaginably Powerful, Also Kinda Hot

  • Share
  • Read Later

My knowledge of physics and engineering is shaky enough that sometimes I forget that stuff like neutron stars and superconductors is actually real and not made-up. (If Slaver stasis fields are real and not made-up, somebody needs to tell me.) Scheduled to cross the fiction/non-fiction barrier shortly is a commercially available quantum computer. The British tech rag linked to here says that the new machine “can carry out 64,000 calculations simultaneously (in parallel ‘universes’).” There cannot be enough scare quotes/scare parentheses around that last phrase to make me comfortable with it.

Gleaming, technogorgeous pictures of the device are here. I think I’m actually attracted to it. If you haven’t read Greg Egan’s Permutation City, you are a) hugely missing out and b) unprepared for the new reality of ubiquitous, unmeasurably powerful computing capacity.

Also strange but true: there is now such a thing as a tactical biorefinery, i.e. a portable device for turning trash into energy, i.e. that thing Doc was using to power his Delorean at the end of Back to the Future.

(Sadly, Nike still doesn’t make self-tying sneakers like Michael J. Fox wore in the future. If that bothers you, join the McFly Project!)