Okay, Can We Build a Quantum Computer or Not?
This latest development in the push toward molecular quantum computation is salient. And the reason is because I think quantum computing means something like your computer turns on before it turns on and completes computations before it completes them. Which is dead sexy.
What we got here, a dependably switchable unimolecular transistor, is a considerable leap in the quantum computing direction. Researchers from three separate universities (with their work focused at the University of New South Wales) have built one, and while single-molecule transistors aren’t brand new, the way this one works is much more practical and potentially scalable. It’s a serious advancement.
It’s a really, really big deal, man!
Oh That Can Never Work…
To be fair to the unimpressed naysayers who scoff at quantum computing, the practicality of this development in and of itself is extremely relative, particularly regarding the need for that littlest piece of phosphorus to be super cold in order to remain stable. I won’t repeat how cold it needs to be, because for the layperson, after you pass -100C it’s just kinda meaningless insane incomprehensible goddamn cold. And this thingy, well – it has to be even colder than that.
…but it Probably Will Eventually Work Because
Think about the track record of the That’s-Impossible-Don’t-Be-Stupid teams of everyday people, politicians, scientists, and clown shoes of every color – people who scream that technology A, B, or C is stupid impossible – utterly inconceivable. How often do those people tend to be correct?
So, to the revered and respected engineers from a few years back, the ones talking about how Moore’s Law will fail pretty soon, how any day now we’re going to hit the upper feasibility limits for calculations per second, how CPUs in general are rapidly approaching game-over no more speed, and how this actually achieved demonstration was entirely impossible:
Maybe, uhhh, quit while you’re ahead and focus on legacy?
Anyway, as is probably the case with most people writing about this development, I can’t quite articulate and don’t even entirely understand the implications of practical quantum computing, but I’m pretty sure I want it.