Scientific Sense Podcast

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Quantum necessity

Conventional computing has run its course – attempts at closer packing of transistors in an effort to improve speed is simply succumbing to the most basic problem – heat, with temperatures at the heart of the latest microprocessors exceeding those of nuclear power plants. This was expected but many had hoped for a path dramatically different from the doubling of speed every eighteen months. Anything less, is disastrous.

Engineering has been a decade long yawn – with little to show. As more and more brain cells migrated to less value added activities in financial services and bureaucratic corporations, they left a huge gap in fundamental innovation and humanity will likely pay a price for it. The ambitions of the creative could not have been satisfied by prescriptive increases in the speed of computing – incremental improvements to the status-quo. Demand for computing has been increasing at a rate that cannot be satisfied by conventional ideas, in every field from biology to predictive analytics.

The question is why humanity finds itself in such an unenviable position. With asteroids flying around the blue planet at will and biological systems that demonstrate ever increasing complexity, the young and timid species of homo sapiens run for cover. They were not expected to be here and a twist of fate has them ruling over a highly tolerant planet. It is ironic that humans are left with observations of calamity but no capability to struggle over them.

Quantum computing is a necessity – not a luxury.

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