Quantum Ka-Billionaire: Six Billion Qubits Entangled

The trickle of quantum computing breakthroughs has turned into a fairly steady stream over the last few months. The most recent gush is a report that researchers are closing in on using silicon as the basis for a QC.

A group of Oxford scientists generated six billion entangled bits in a doped silicon mixture.

(By the way, anytime I start to write about Oxford, I have this prim English accent that goes through my mind. When I write about Ivy League schools, I begin to think in a Thurston Howell, III voice. UC-Berkley gets this beatnik imitation.)

I'd walk out on that movie if I was on an airplane.--Thurston Howell, III

So, is this silicon QC thing a big deal?

I think so. It’s definitely a big step.

But, entangling is not necessarily quantum computation.

I think this story got the headlines because most of us are more familiar with the miraculous properties of silicon. It’s something we’re used to talking about. And the mainstream media gets silicon. Silicon valley.

On the other hand, mention topological QC, or adiabatic quantum information systems and watch the eyes of reporters glaze over like frosting on a sticky bun. (Right. Haven’t had breakfast yet.)

The fact that silicon could be used in quantum processing is, in my opinion, proven. But whether silicon makes the most sense, is the most efficient, or can be the most scalable model of quantum information processing, as Thurston Howell, III would say, “is still up for debate, Lovey.”

Spooky Conference at a Distance

A recent conference in India sought to bring in leading experts on quantum entanglement.

Entanglement is known as “spooky at a distance.” It also refers to how scientists hook up at bars located near these conferences.

“Quantum entanglement remains a big conceptual mystery, but we can already see emerging applications,” said Archan Majumdar, a physicist at the S.N. Bose Centre and convener of the conference.

One of the most important applications for entanglement is in quantum information processing,

The abstracts offer some interesting titles. Quantum information, the ambiguity of the past, and the complexity of the present is one. That one may or may not be about my career.

You can review some of the abstracts.

Quantum Computers Meet Manga Graphics

Professor Miyake, The Record

Take the imagination of a one-time Manga enthusiast and combine it with the wild, wild world of quantum information science and what do you get?

Alice Meets the Quantum Computer.

Akimasa Miyake, of the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, uses his love of drawing Manga comics, a distinctly Japanese form of comic-meets-graphic novels–and his passion of quantum computing to take a Manga Alice into the world of quantum mechanics.

Miyake drew Alice on his office blackboard to help answer the question: why do we need quantum computers. The researcher has some ideas on this.

Primarily, the quantum computer can model behavior that classical physics and classical computers can only estimate. Put “superposition” at the top of the list.

But, deeper still, Miyake makes some interesting points about quantum information processing and reality:

This would give a quantum computer immense power. If this feature of nature could be exploited, we would have machines that could process information in a much faster and deeper way than even the best supercomputers can do.
In a way, nature is already doing this, Miyake says.
In fact, some people imagine all of nature, the whole universe, as being a lot like a giant information processor, or a giant quantum computer, one that is constantly managing this quantum information to produce the reality we see.
“That is one possible perspective,” Miyake says. He notes that the late John Wheeler, a famous American theoretical physicist, coined the phrase “it from bit” about 20 years ago to convey this idea that maybe everything is information.
“In the quantum information community today, we have more or less come to this viewpoint because we tend to see the world in terms of these quantum bits,” Miyake says.

Miyake also speculates that quantum computers could one day go from Alice in Wonderland to Alice in the Matrix:

This would give a quantum computer immense power. If this feature of nature could be exploited, we would have machines that could process information in a much faster and deeper way than even the best supercomputers can do.
In a way, nature is already doing this, Miyake says.
In fact, some people imagine all of nature, the whole universe, as being a lot like a giant information processor, or a giant quantum computer, one that is constantly managing this quantum information to produce the reality we see.
“That is one possible perspective,” Miyake says. He notes that the late John Wheeler, a famous American theoretical physicist, coined the phrase “it from bit” about 20 years ago to convey this idea that maybe everything is information.
“In the quantum information community today, we have more or less come to this viewpoint because we tend to see the world in terms of these quantum bits,” Miyake says.

I’d personally like to see a quantum Mad Hatter.