Are Silicon Quantum Computers Possible, Even Probable?

Researchers have always looked on using silicon-based quantum computer as a bit of a holy grail.

First, we’re intimately familiar with silicon–it’s at the core of our current classic computing technology. Second, since silicon is relatively plentiful, it would be cheap and ubiquitous.

Now, word from a team of researchers at the University of New South Wales indicates that silicon-based quantum computers have taken a step closer.

The team of scientists and engineers has developed one of the key building blocks needed to make a quantum computer using silicon: a “single electron reader.” This technology can read the “spin” (magnetic orientation) of an individual electron in silicon. The “spin” represents a data state, quite similar to reading a bit in a binary computer.

The team has been working on this for ten years and have published their findings in Nature.

Even though this still puts silicon-based quantum computing at “years away,” the progress we’re making on QC is undeniable. Quantum computing, once forecast to still be 50 or 100 years in our future, looks achievable much sooner.

The Many Moods of Decoherence

“I happen to dress based on mood.”
“But you essentially wear the same thing all the time.”
“Seemingly, but within that basic framework there are many subtle variations only discernible to an acute observer that reflect the many moods, the many shades, the many sides of George Costanza.”
“And what mood is this?”
“This is morning mist.”

Scientists have always believed that the quantum world–as strange as it is–was pretty clear in at least one thing.
Particles were either entangled. Or they weren’t. The entangled particle is an intimate state between particles that allows them to “communicate” over vast, spooky distances. The unentangled state is called, decoherence.
However, new research indicates that, like George Costanza’s many moods, decoherence comes in multiple variations.
Rainer Blatt and his team at at the Institute of Experimental Physics of the University of Innsbruck have been working  on creating a quantum computer.
The physicists have found not a single state of decoherence. The found several states or flavors when they exposed four entangled ions to a noisy environment.

“At the beginning the ions showed very strong connections,” says Julio Barreiro. “When exposed to the disturbing environment, the ions started a journey to the classical world. In this journey, their entanglement showed a variety of flavors or properties.”

Was one of them “morning mist”?
You can read the complete article at PhysOrg.

The Secret that Forbes List Reveals About the Future of Wealth

There weren’t too many surprises as to who made the list of Forbes list of richest Americans.
Bill Gates is there. So is Warren Buffett.
A lot of the same names.
But there are some new Forbes list faces that reveal a trend that most readers might not see, especially as curent wealth trends are masked in the pessimism of the recent economic downturn.
The time it takes to start a billion-dollar company, or the time it takes become a billionaire has shortened drastically.
It took Warren Buffett decades to invest his way into a billionaire. Gates relatively zoomed there in a little over a decade with Microsoft.
Facebook, in the whole scheme of things, is a baby of a company. Just a few years old. It’s founder is already a billionaire, at least on paper. There are other billionaires who have made Forbes list in historically short times.
We have to look at the other side of the balance sheet, too. The list proves that companies are taking less and less capital to create.
Imagine what Andrew Carnegie went through to start his steel companies. Imagine pulling together investors and building the massive factories. Now, in some cases, it merely takes a decent web host.
What does this tell us about the future of wealth?
First, despite the economic gloom, the forces of exponential technological growth are continuing with little distraction. As technology grows, so must wealth. Wealth is inexorably tied to technology.
Second, we may only be seeing the first waves of wealth creation caused by exponential innovation.
What tsunami lies in store, we can only imagine.