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Old 06-21-2010   #1
ablethevoice
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Interesting advances in computer technology

Instead of posting a separate thread for all these news stories, I figured one thread would do it just fine.

First, this article about new advances in solid-state memory...

And scientists are closing in on a terahertz speed chip...

Finally, an Australian research facility comes even closer to quantum computing.
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Old 07-04-2010   #2
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Re: Interesting advances in computer technology

My roommate works on the THz transistor project. They have a design that's supposed to hit 1 THz, and he actually fabricates them.

Also lol at the quantum computer scientist - "You'll be able to solve problems that would take longer than the life of the universe with a classical computer". Haw. Still holding our breath. Physicists. She needs an electrical engineer to tell her why that won't work.
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Old 07-11-2010   #3
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Re: Interesting advances in computer technology

I believe that God is the quantum computer we've yet to create.
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Old 07-11-2010   #4
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Re: Interesting advances in computer technology

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Originally Said by EmperorChaos View Post
I believe that God is the quantum computer we've yet to create.
Quantum computers will be like regular ones, in that they'll still be as stupid as the human who is programming them. Maybe even more stupid, since they'll be even more difficult to program.

A major advantage that traditional computers have is that any logic circuit can be produced using a single type of logic gate (NAND), so designing and implementing circuits is a piece of cake. Lots of smaller runs of devices use field-programmable gate arrays, which are just grids of NAND gates that can be bypassed or enabled to create an arbitrary logic circuit.

Quantum computers won't have this advantage because of the principle of superposition. The qbit is a superposition of "1" and "0". It can be set to have a high probability to be either, but there's still the chance that it could come up as the opposite. Like Schrodinger's Cat, you won't know what you get until you look at it.

Allowing this is what makes the quantum computer powerful, but it does impose difficulties in designing the circuitry. Expect the first quantum computers to perform a specialized task (such as encryption) as an accessory to a traditional computer.

(disclaimer - i'm ad libbing, quote me at your peril)
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Old 07-11-2010   #5
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Re: Interesting advances in computer technology

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Originally Said by Yugoloth View Post

Allowing this is what makes the quantum computer powerful, but it does impose difficulties in designing the circuitry. Expect the first quantum computers to perform a specialized task (such as encryption) as an accessory to a traditional computer.

(disclaimer - i'm ad libbing, quote me at your peril)
I never thought of a "hybrid" concept. For some reason I'd been visualizing some sort of container with quantum plasma acting as a mega-CPU. Your quantum accessory to traditional computers makes a lot of sense, though. That makes me think of early "hybrid" televisions. Certain portions of a TV required extremely high voltages (25KV and up) and in the early days of solid state devices, these components couldn't handle that kind of voltage so tubes were still used. However, other areas of the television's circuitry were more mild so transistors were used to do the job that tubes used to do in that spot. I'd say - based on what you just suggested - we might see a 100% effective quantum antivirus/malware application in the near future.
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Old 07-11-2010   #6
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Re: Interesting advances in computer technology

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Originally Said by Yugoloth View Post
Quantum computers will be like regular ones, in that they'll still be as stupid as the human who is programming them. Maybe even more stupid, since they'll be even more difficult to program.
I did not mean to imply the very first working model of a quantum computer will be God. Also, I do not really believe it either. It's merely one of many ideas I've had for stories.

Imagine an intelligent machine whose "brain" is powered by a quantum computer. Would not this machine be capable of making itself more and more intelligent, due to the positive feedback loop of greater intelligence resulting in even greater intelligence, until it is capable of manipulating space-time itself?

Mike, I know you're all science-y and what-not with your college educations and your learnings.... but good god man, don't you know I live in a world of science fiction?
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Old 07-12-2010   #7
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Re: Interesting advances in computer technology

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Originally Said by EmperorChaos View Post
Imagine an intelligent machine whose "brain" is powered by a quantum computer. Would not this machine be capable of making itself more and more intelligent, due to the positive feedback loop of greater intelligence resulting in even greater intelligence, until it is capable of manipulating space-time itself?
well... no...

there's nothing really that outrageous about a quantum computer. a traditional computer operates on flowing particles (electrons); either they flow (1) or they don't (0). A quantum computer simply operates on a spinning particle. either it's spin up (1) or spin down (0). The difference is that when undisturbed, the particle has a probability either one, and is effectively some combination of the spin up state and the spin down state.

Because of this, the qbit can hold multiple values, so a qbits passing through a single logic gate allows the gate to operate on many symbols at once instead of just one at a time. It's like parallel computing. They don't have any powers that a traditional computer doesn't, besides being way faster
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Old 07-14-2010   #8
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Re: Interesting advances in computer technology

Faster is good, yes?

Dammit Mike, why'd you have to go into engineering? You know more than I do about stuff and things now. (I suppose that was never very difficult.)
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Old 03-11-2011   #9
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Re: Interesting advances in computer technology

A guest was reading this article and I went back and re-read the articles I linked to. One of them had a glaring technical error which I missed the first time around. In the article about quantum computing, there is mention of a "single silicone crystal". Silicon and silicone are NOT interchangeable. Silicon is the element from which most computer's active components are manufactured. Silicone is a rubbery, plastic-like compound which contains silicon and other elements.
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