IBM’s new 127-qubit processor is a major breakthrough - can someone explain qubit processing?

How is qubit processing different from traditional processors? And if it has to be cooled to -455* Fahrenheit, how does that make it even remotely scalable? After all, liquid Nitrogen is too hot for this kind of computing at -320* F, and liquid Helium is borderline at -452* F.

Quantum processing runs instructions in an infinite number of multiple universes simultaneously, making them extremely fast at certain operations that traditional processors are very slow at, like factoring prime numbers used in encryption.

Quantum computing is not like traditional computing. Problems designed for quantum calculations in some ways bypass traditional solutions.

Traditional computing may ask: what is the solution to 2+2
Quantum computing asks: is there a solution to 2+2

It has to do with such complicated concepts such as P=NP, which I admit my grasp on is loose.

But quantum calculations allow you to compare multiple probabilities and potential approaches at once. It requires special designing, but can exponentially reduce time to resolve very tough computations (ones that under traditional models would require until the heat death of the universe to solve)

But it is terrible at linear computation, its not how it works.

Are you saying it can’t even run Crysis?


It can tell you whether a PC exists that can, though.

Im apparently stupider than a high schooler though, and still don’t understand it.

What’s the point then? Crysis will always be the benchmark.

I’m very ignorant here, but there’s nothing useful about this IBM system because it isn’t an advance in entangled qubits with fault tolerance, right? Aren’t we still stuck at 2-3?

My understanding (which is limited!) is that the gnarly bits of QC are that the individual measurements you get are error prone [susceptible to noise] and the answer is probabilistic.

The error correction sounds like it’s still a work in progress, but you wind up getting fewer “usable” bits than you would normally have, which limits what you can implement.

The probabilistic part works out to: 2+2 has an 87% chance of equaling 4. You get a distribution of answers, instead of a deterministic result. Pretty comfortable if you’re into machine learning or statistics, weird AF if you’re used to deterministic programming.

Yes, if it wasn’t essentially infinitely faster than traditional processing at certain tasks nobody would bother. It’s real scifi stuff, using parallel universes to calculate. With 127 qubits, 1.7014118E+38 parallel universes, to be precise. Not actually infinite.

Also entangled qubits could be used for faster-than-light communication, speaking of scifi.

What?! I can’t tell if you’re serious or if this is sarcasm.

Oh no, completely serious. Quantum mechanics is a notorious mindfuck.

Theoretically, entangled qbits could be separated by any distance and share information [instantaneously].

Oh hey cool:

How do I get into one of these parallel universes? Is there one where fascism isn’t on the rise, we didn’t screw the planet, and we live in peace and harmony like a good Star Trek episode?

Yep, thus communicating faster than light.

Closer to home, quantum computing efficiently factoring prime numbers means basically all public-key asymmetric encryption will, at some point in the possibly near future, be completely compromised and useless. This includes SSL/TLS used on the web and your phone. Cryptographers have lots of potential solutions for post-quantum encryption but none have actually been tested because we don’t have the quantum processors yet.

Anyway, this is why everybody is doing a “full take” on internet traffic. At some point in the future the government will be able to look at everything you’ve ever done online, even if you thought it was encrypted.

Parallel universes are theoretically infinite so sure all those things exist somewhere. We’re still very early in manipulating individual qubits, so Sliders is probably a bit far away.

For now read William Gibson’s The Peripheral.

One does not need an excuse to read that book - one of my favorite of his works. I haven’t read book 2 yet, but I’m excited that like everything else he writes it’s a trilogy.

Note: also a TV show coming out next year (!)

This Kurzgesagt video helped, but it’s still a bit mind-blowing.

Sorry to say that you already are in them, but you are the version of you that is stuck here.

There’s no need for the multiverse theory to explain quantum theory. It’s just a slightly altered probability theory that is even more unintuitive and hard to grasp, on something that is hard to measure. And certainly no faster than light information transfer; with entanglement, the information is already there, you just don’t know, and can’t know, what it is.
I don’t understand it, but some things do stick. One is that good encryption has… ops, wiki says I’m wrong… well, that we should be fine for a while, even if we need more frequent updates.

My mother also says quantum is the reason we can control our bodies and ascend to the 5th dimension, but, hmmm, I’d rather pretend she doesn’t, to be honest.