Qubits: How to be in two places at the same time
By Shlomo Maital
Today’s New York Times has this headline, “Microsoft bets on quantum computing” by John Markoff (p. 21). Here is the basic idea, as described by Markoff:
“Conventional computing is based on a bit that can be either a 1 or a 0, representing a single value in a computation. But quantum computing is based on qubits, which simultaneously represent both zero and one values. If they are placed in an “entangled” state — physically separated but acting as though they are connected — with many other qubits, they can represent a vast number of values simultaneously. And the existing limitations of computing power are thrown out the window.”
Amazing? indeed. The visionary physicist Richard Feynman first proposed quantum computing in 1982. Initial research was funded by DARPA (America’s defense department) and America’s National Security Agency. Note how often governments fund pioneering basic research that later changes the world!
Microsoft’s visionary research is highly risky, simply because “the typic of exotic..particle needed to generate qubits has not been definitely proved to exist”.
Wow.. Go Microsoft! After decades of missing every trend and opportunity, including the Internet, Microsoft is now working on something that does not even exist (for sure). What a change!
But here’s the best news, especially for busy women. One day, you can be in two places at once. You can drive the kids to soccer, while you’re 600 miles away pitching to a potential new client. You can spend quality time with your spouse, while writing up a new ad campaign for Unilever.
On second thought, this is no breakthrough – I know many women, including my wife, who are already qubits. They multi-task so easily, so fluidly, that they don’t even need qubits. I urge Microsoft researchers to study these multi-tasking women. If they do, they will quickly find those elusive quantum particles; women have tons of them.
It’s us MEN who need them.