Have Quantum Nerd-like Fun

Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash

Many love that vibe. They put some good stuff inside the huge barrels with expensive cables, load them with about $40k of some liquid that suppose to cool down a machine and start… computing?!

source: IBM

A side note. Please, pay attention that I used „quantum magic” in the intro between quotation marks. There’s nothing magic about quantum physics. However, it’s definitely strange or weird that I’ve just mentioned. Those adjectives are triggered given our intuition developed while discovering the world at our human level of cognition. Quantum mechanics and quantum computing is a scientific framework not a set of spells directed at — let’s say — a cat. It’s based on linear algebra that is taught at entry college levels! Weirdness starts with extension of the laws of probability to include negative sign. However, it’s still a solid network of logical assumptions. More on this in a future post.

However, you may ask, why we haven’t figured that out already? Why quantum computation instead of regular computation? We have supercomputers, don’t we? They fill huge spaces, they must be powerful enough to solve our difficult problems, right?

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Try building a house of cards consisting of 100 cards. Outside your comfy home. During a storm. Using fishing rods .

You may use as many rods as you like. Satisfied?

You will learn how to handle all of those eventually, though. The thing is, the direction and the speed of wind is constantly changing. Oh! And you need to rotate the whole structure — untouched — to perform desired calculations… This is the goal.

First of all, you should get rid of the idea you can get the essence of quantum computing in 10 minutes and explore the subject with some crash courses. Been there. Doesn’t work.

„If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics”.

In the heart of the quantum computation lays a qubit. Quantum bit. Bit is an abstract idea of information. Either there is something or not. But remember, not being there as an opposition of being there, is information as well.

Another side note. It’s not a real fog. Im not talking about visual aspect and fuzziness, etc. If you have ever faced linear algebra concepts, you don’t treat a linear combination as a blurriness or „a vector is in many places at the same time”. It’s a linear combination — part of the framework you’re using to describe, to model. More of this tricky aspects in a future post, though.

What for? To calm down the qubits and its surroundings. Cold means less jiggling. Less jiggling means more precise work of the computer. It’s not about cooling it down not to burn the computer. It’s about reducing mess down there, to get useful information.

Another misleading statement: quantum computer does all the calculations at the same time. Imagine a labyrinth. A classical computer checks each possible path and lets you know, when the correct one is found. Quantum machine supposedly scans all possibilities at the same time. It doesn’t work this way! Quantum computation is about exploring hidden structures of data you use. This is where „the magic” of quantum nature reveals its power. It’s not about beating classical computers with doing their job faster. It’s about being faster, but in the space of different approach. Basically new logic.

Here’s the best part. You will reach the absolute limits of your brain’s capacity. It will hurt. The field is very addictive, so it doesn’t matter. Be prepared to mood swings, though. I did some „power drinks” in the process to relax after long sessions. Fortunately, haven’t reached the level of hating Pauli or Hadamard (pretty important historic personas in the field).

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