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IBM Hardware Technology

IBM Touts Quantum Computing Breakthrough 132

Posted by timothy
from the or-they-don't-it's-indeterminate dept.
Lucas123 writes "IBM today claimed to have been able to reduce error rates and retain the integrity of quantum mechanical properties in quantum bits or qubits long enough to perform a gate operation, opening the door to new microfabrication techniques that allow engineers to begin designing a quantum computer. While still a long ways off, the creation of a quantum computer would mean data processing power would be exponentially increased over what is possible with today's silicon-based computing."
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IBM Touts Quantum Computing Breakthrough

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @09:55AM (#39184373)

    1) Repeated news about being able to perform some operation with a tiny number of qubits do not suggest that it is probably true that a useful quantum computer of practical size can be built;

    2) It wouldn't mean data processing power would be "exponentially increased", but that certain algorithms could be executed asymptotically faster.

    QC remains a second rate branch of mathematics for computer science types who don't want to apply themselves to less glamorous problems in the more mature and challenging fields of classical computing. For engineers, it's still in the nuclear fusion stage: kinda just possible in the right conditions, but under no conditions shown useful.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:15AM (#39184567)

    The depressing thing is that you will never see anything like this out of Apple. Billions of dollars in reserves and no "Jobs Labs".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @10:56AM (#39184983)

    no, but apple has been pretty focused on making technology cool and even desirable to the masses. While perhaps not as interesting to you as Quantum computing, its certainly important, and something that IBM was never able to do.

  • by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @11:00AM (#39185011)

    THIS, like times a million. NYTimes this weekend had an excellent article on the history of Bell Labs (the laser, the transistor, communications satellites, etc). HP, whatever else you may think of them, supported the pure research lab which brought forth the memristor. IBM can point to things such as this, its various efforts to simulate a brain, and Watson. Google, bless their souls, is pushing for automated driving (this may not sound in the same league, until you realize the consequences for everybody who drives or rides in an auto.)

    Where is the pure research at Apple? Do they think they can get by on just making better UIs, for the rest of forever? Are they at all part of a larger community?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @11:12AM (#39185149)

    Another way of explaining this is that in order to take advantage of the exponential speed-up of quantum computing in practical applications, you need exponentially better management of entanglement and decoherence effects, which turns out to be a very difficult engineering problem. People keep proposing different models for quantum computing hoping that if they do these operations in solid state rather than via NMR, or in Bose-Einstein condensates, or using exotic pseudo-particles, or other means that the entanglement management and decoherence issues will become tractable. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has yet come up with an approach that really addresses the underlying issue.

    I don't really think there's any way to *prove* that it's impossible to do this though, which is why people will keep banging their heads into the problem for some time. Maybe they'll come up with something, or Quantum Computing will become computer science's fusion (a suck of funding and effort that keeps dragging out for decade after decade).

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @05:50PM (#39189961)

    Apple will wait for everyone else to have quantum computing, and then release a device making the masses believe Apple invented quantum computing because they call it iQuantum.

    But I agree. Apple has 98 billion in the bank and is worth over 1/2 trillion on paper, yet they are only focus on repackaging largely off the shelf components invented by other companies into fancy packages and spending way too much money designing retail stores that boast large sheets of seamless glass.

    What strikes me as really depressing is that while Bill Gates is generally hated among Slashdot readers he had given more back to the world in the terms of his charity work. In his "retirement" he is focused on trying to solve some of the world's biggest issues in poverty and quality of life.

    On the other hand, Steve Job's stayed at Apple pretty much up till his death bed creating an empire where people just thrown them money to buy into a walled garden of content and hardware while Apple shits on any other competitive product or company.

    How has Apple given back to the world? Creating jobs where the pressure is so high people kills themselves when they don't meet Apple's quota's or quality standards? Creating products people actually kill for? Creating a market of "want" that is never satiated until someone becomes bankrupt?

    Apple needs to start giving back, put some of them billions into charity and maybe try to invent something useful for the world that does have an "i" in front of it.

    I sincerely think that Apple has enough money to cure cancer, but the company is more interested in hoarding money and technology patents. Its a shame really that everybody's beloved Apple is probably one of the most evil, greedy, selfish and vindictive companies wrapped in a protective bubble of smugness.

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