Results tagged “computer” from kwc blog

I went to the D-Wave demo of the "first commercially viable quantum computer." That's a heavily qualified statement, but it basically means that they were able to take a 16-qubit quantum computer and hook it up to a molecular structure search, a seating chart constraint optimizer, and a sudoku puzzle solver. The cool aspect of what they done is that their software is designed to optimize SQL, so you don't really need to know anything about the adiabatic quantum computation. Their software will take the SQL program, convert it to a graph, and load it into their quantum computer. The best solution is lowest energy state of the quantum computer. Due to the physical nature of the computation, the second-best solution is the second-lowest energy state, etc... Their goal with this sort of model is to either:

  • Get a more accurate solution in the same amount of time as a digital computer
  • Get a solution of the same accuracy but faster than a digital computer

Of course, their current prototype is about 100x slower than a current digital computer, so it will take awhile for them to transition from proof of concept into realizing those goals.

D-Wave's near-term vision for their technology seems to be an Internet service by which data can be sent to a quantum computer and a solution returned. This would in effect be a "quantum computer co-processor" for digital computers. They were very clear that quantum computing is not a replacement for digital computing; rather, it enables new efficiencies with respect to certain types of computation in finance, biology, chemistry, security, etc...

I went to the presentation to see the demo, but I was a bit let down by it. In retrospect, I should have expected to be: what they currently have is un-demoable. Their prototype is 100x slower than a digital computer, so it can't perform any type of new computation that would really knock our socks off (e.g. cracking a 1024-bit RSA key). Regardless, it is very difficult to demo computation. The only thing left to show would be the actual quantum computer, which in publicity photos looks absolutely beautiful. But there was no way they were going to transport a massive, liquid-helium-cooled quantum computer to the Computer History Museum. Given all this -- the no-show quantum computer, no demonstrable new application -- it pretty much leaves the rest of the demo to a question of belief. It would have been nice if they could have brought parts from previous prototypes, a mis-fabbed qubit, anything that could have taken their Internet-based demonstration and made it more physically grounded, but I complain because I like toys.

I've posted some videos in the extended of the molecular search demo. As I've already said, there's not much to see, just much to believe.

Don't know if it works, but it's purty

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D-Wave promises to "make computer history" when they unveil their quantum computer at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on February 13th (register to attend). They claim that they will be able to do 64,000 calculations in parallel using their 16 qubit prototype. Heck if I know what that really means or if it really works, but I'm interested enough to check it out.

via gizmodo

Space monkeys

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My new Mac laptop is in and being setup as we speak. We're required to name our laptops after one of the explorers listed over at enchanted learning. I wasn't really digging the list of names -- mostly because I couldn't spell or pronounce most of them -- until I clicked on 'space' and found exactly the type of name I wanted for my new Mac: monkeynaut.

Maybe when I finally pay for a membership over at the Techshop I can get a space monkey laser engraved on it -- I'll have to check if company policy allows that.

All set for the housewarming

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I've managed to put the finishing touches on my computer setup, which just about covers everything I needed to do to get everything in order for the housewarming -- d's got all the other stuff covered. We were running out of wall space, so I was a bit worried as to where I was going to hang my biggest Comic-Con acquisition, an Usagi drawing by Stan Sakai, when I saw this nice big blank space on the side of my computer. A couple minutes later I had the setup you see here:

I'll get a better scan of the drawing (as well as all the other Comic-Con goods) when I have a bit more time.

I'm a winner!

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(crossposted from spare cycles)

I've been picking up some of the Tour Mania scratch and win cards from my local bike shop and today I won a Livestrong laptop! I am excited as this being my first-ever big prize win. Of course, I'm the last person that needs another computer and I'm not-so-excited about the taxes for the sucker, but I'll figure that out later.

You can also be a winner -- you can even play online at trekbikes.com. If you win a Madone 5.2 I'll trade you ;).

livestrong laptop

A few links

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MareNostrumchurch.s.jpg nielsenstrike.jpg jackpc.jpg

I can't hurt it

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At last my new workstation has made it to my office. It's a dual Xeon but it's virtually 4 CPUs. I ran a compile of our ginormous application while doing some photoediting in Photoshop CS2 and it didn't blink. I was still getting instant previews of filter effects on a 6 megapixel photo.I've forgotten how to fully utilize this much power -- clearly I've lost my edge. It has earned it's moniker Kilkenny already.

4cpus.gif

Kilkenny (soon)

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My new work machine is almost ready: 3.2Ghz dual Xeon with 4GB of RAM. Our desktops get beer names and I was asked to submit a list of names:

  • Kilkenny
  • Arrogant Bastard
  • Dead Guy
  • Delirium Tremens
  • Fat Tire

Kilkenny wins, not for taste, but for its many possible meanings. I also considered Maudite ("cursed"), but I'll save that one for an injury-prone Mac.

Back to the future

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photophotoThe old Mac Classic had a handle which turned it into an awkward, but portable desktop computer. The iMacs are also arguably portable, but Sony has come out with a successor to their Vaio W line that is a computer made for lan partying. A large handle is built into the design of the monitor, and the computer folds up like a briefcase for moving. Only available in Japan right now.
I4U News - New Sony portable Desktop Computer VAIO P PCV-P101
PCV-P101
(via Gizmodo : The gadgets weblog)

Portable WiFi Server

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Sony has a portable 802.11b file server available in Japan. In addition to supporting most major file protocols (CIFS/SMB, NFS), it can also act as an ethernet bridge. You can also install any other Linux software you can get your hands on. Joi Ito's got one and claims it has about 9 minutes of battery life. The specs seem very similar to OpenBrick. If you're in Japan you can order one here.

Looks like Sony beat Intel/Roy Want to market with personal portable servers, but I hope Intel hurries up with one that runs for more than 9 minute sans power adapter.

Book: The Difference Engine

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The Difference Engine
Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer
by Doron Swade

I found this book very interesting, because it balances to opposite goals: demonstrating the novelty of Babbage's ideas/vision, and showing that they had absolutely no effect on the emergence of computing. These opposing goals are laid out upon a modern day challenge: building the Babbage's previously unbuilt Difference Engine and proving that it was functional to Babbage's original design. As a computer scientist, the balance of historical background and engineering challenge made the book rewarding for me to read.

The extended entry contains outline and summary (massive spoilers).