Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quantum Computing is officially for sale. woo hoo?

May 25th, a D-Wave Systems announced that the first Quantum Computer was officially for sale, and sold to Lockheed Martin, an aerospace pioneer that has been working on anything from space shuttles, probes, ballistic missiles, and nurf guns. Well, maybe the nurf guns are just for the overstressed engineers attempting to blow off some steam before they blow up a probe in some planet's atmosphere, making it look like a steel and titanium glittered fireworks show. Oh shiny!

Wait, where was I? That's right. Quantum Computing. What the heck is quantum computing? Well, the basic idea of quantum computing is the idea of moving away from the tired old silicon board based chips, and moving towards something new and exciting. Where are we moving to? Well, from the looks of it the processing power is now going to be based on the suspension of atoms and ions within the processor space. Rather than switching electricity through circuits, these new quantum computing components will be tracking the movements of atoms and adjusting their movements to do advanced calculations and computations.

So what does this mean?

For now, nothing for the consumer market. Quantum computers are currently in their infancy, and very akin to the old punchcard based computers that your parents may talking about playing with back in their college days. The average quantum computer right now takes up 100 square feet, or about the size of a 10-foot by 10-foot room. In addition, there's limited support as to what languages quantum computers can understand, which currently includes Python, Java, C++, SQL and MATLAB. These limitations are temporary and will change as the technology grows out of its infancy, but for the time being. If you're looking for a full breakdown of the technology, explanation of how it's supposed to work, or you're just a math or Computer Science geek, you can check out the Google Workshop video on Quantum Biology below. It's rather dry, but if you're enthralled with evolving technology, it's totally worth it.


Dejch said...

if i would only have the money to buy it! :)

Radux said...

Thats one hell of a computer!

Jacob said...

That's exciting stuff! Wonder how long it'll take to get in the consumer market for us normal people. :P

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