Quantum Leap
December 16, 2005 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Mass Producible Quantum Computer - Christopher Monroe has produced the first quantum computer capable of being scaled to a production model at the Trapped Ion Quantum Computing facility at the University of Michigan. (via)
posted by sourbrew (21 comments total)
Aw, crap. And I just bought my iBook.
posted by sourwookie at 3:09 PM on December 16, 2005

wookie - we should stage a sour rebellion.
posted by sourbrew at 3:18 PM on December 16, 2005

This is very interesting and I don't want to diminish what this group has accomplished, but there is still a long way to go before we have a scaleable quantum computer.

The biggest problem, as I understand it, is not in our ability to mass produce quantum computing systems. It is creating multi-qubit entangled systems. In quantum computing, 2 8-qubit registers is not the equivalent to 1 16-cubit register, which is much harder to produce.

There was a recent FPP which linked to a number of articles, including one by a physicist who predicted that the largest qubit system allowed by the laws of nature was around 400 qubits. I don't agree with him, but we are certainly a long way from producing "usefully complex" quantum computers.
posted by justkevin at 3:39 PM on December 16, 2005

there goes the neighborhood!
posted by stenseng at 3:45 PM on December 16, 2005

The problem isn't just creating multi-quibit entanglement or scalable systems, but creating reliable ones. Quantum computers are enormously error prone and even though a lot of work has been done in the area of quantum error correction, there is still a minimal amount of operation relability in order to create a system with any realiability. To the best of my knowledge this level has not yet been reached. It's a self link but if you want to read more about this problem of minimal device reliability, I co-authored a paper (PDF) that explored this topic that was published in the proceedings of ISCA 2005.
posted by lucasks at 4:03 PM on December 16, 2005

Check the faculty page. How many professors of physics does the U of M have? (many!)
posted by JohnR at 4:13 PM on December 16, 2005

Oh what an entangled web we weave,
When first we practice to not perceive.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:14 PM on December 16, 2005

I think the biggest problem here is that the evil pirate-versions of ourselves will use this quantum gateway to pillage our universe. This, my friends, is very serious.
posted by luriete at 4:26 PM on December 16, 2005

Quanta le gusta?
posted by longsleeves at 4:39 PM on December 16, 2005

cet ordinateur, il vibre?
posted by blue_beetle at 5:16 PM on December 16, 2005

I was going to have a look at that article, but I wouldn't want to change it by reading it.
posted by clevershark at 5:45 PM on December 16, 2005

Is this a really good development or just more hype & spin? I can't really tell.
posted by rolypolyman at 5:57 PM on December 16, 2005

How many professors of physics does the U of M have? (many!)


if you want to read more about this problem of minimal device reliability, I co-authored a paper (PDF) that explored this topic

How many professors of physics does Metafilter have? (many!). I never cease to be amazed by the range of knowledge and experience tapped by this blog.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:10 PM on December 16, 2005

I'd like to point out the first recorded use of the "bakula" tag!

For those of us laymen (and laywomen[believe me, I try]) what's the current state of applied quantum computing? I mean, how much more technology is required before they can be used to ad? What else will that machine be able to do?
posted by Richard Daly at 6:39 PM on December 16, 2005

quantum computers can implement quantum algorithms, which so far have been proven to solve several interesting problems more efficiently than any known classical algorithm, and in some cases (most notably factoring, and therefore the cracking of RSA encryption keys) exponentially more so. the serious study of quantum algorithms is barely more than 10 years old, who knows what else may turn up.

there is no proof one way or the other that we can build a large reliable quantum computer. there are already several experimental devices which can process a few bits of quantum information, but they are neither scalable nor reliable. we do have, in theory, error correcting codes which protect against quantum noise, but the precise engineering of quantum systems is magnificently difficult.

if we are able to build them, it would be an event at least as revolutionary as the invention of classical computers. pretty much every credible person i have heard has predicted this will take at least 25 years of intensive research. maybe more. maybe never.
posted by paradroid at 7:38 PM on December 16, 2005

I laughed, clevershark.
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:32 AM on December 17, 2005

"No fair, you changed the result by measuring it!"

We need more quantum mechanics jokes on TV.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:53 AM on December 17, 2005

do we really?
posted by gagglezoomer at 11:25 AM on December 17, 2005

These quantum computers, are they something I'd have to own some atoms to know about?
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:27 PM on December 17, 2005

[this may be good]
posted by SteelyDuran at 4:46 AM on December 18, 2005

all that matters is,

what kind of impact will this have on console gaming?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:22 PM on December 18, 2005

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