Magazine article The Futurist

The Outer Limits of Quantum Computing

Magazine article The Futurist

The Outer Limits of Quantum Computing

Article excerpt

Computing with Quantum Cats: From Colossus to Qubits by John Gribbin. Prometheus. 2014. 295 pages. $28.95.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A whole other reality exists at the quantum level, and we are learning how to access it via quantum computers. In his latest book, science journalist John Gribbin gives readers a detailed look at this technology area and its capabilities--including the prospect that quantum computers might hold the key to true artificial intelligence.

He starts by retracing computer history and the series of breakthroughs that eventually brought the specialized field of quantum computing into being. Along the way, he explains what we now know about quantum mechanics and describes how engineers have succeeded in reproducing some quantum phenomena in experimental quantum computer systems.

Quantum computers generate much excitement due to their ability to construct multiple simultaneous calculations of the same problem, a feat that would theoretically enable them to far surpass conventional computers in certain types of functions. For example, a single quantum computer could calculate all of the activities occurring in an area of space, and thereby give scientists exceptionally accurate models of the universe and physical reality--or even, if the operators wish, of the "multiverses" that many physicists argue exist alongside our universe. …

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