Monday, November 10, 2014

Audio explanation of quantum computers

SciAm is hosting the Tech Talker on Detangling Quantum Computers:
For example, it is really hard for normal computers to find factors of prime numbers. [at 1:30]
It is just as hard for quantum computers to find factors of prime numbers. Primes do not have any nontrivial factors. Okay, I am nitpicking. I have heard this error many times.

At 3'00 to 3'30, it explains superposition as one observer measuring an electron as spin up at the same time another measures spin down.

No, that is impossible.

I am not sure it is even useful to talk about an electron being in a superposition of spin states. It always has a spin in some direction. Only if you force it into another direction does it look like a possibility of up or down in that direction.

And there is no mention of the fact that quantum computers are completely hypothetical fantasies, like time travel machines.

On a recent Slate podcast, I heard:
The word quantum is Latin for: (a) uncertainty (b) parallel (c) natural (d) what amount
The correct answer is (d). Other wrong answers might be "small" or "discrete"

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