Been a while since I got into what’s going on with fringe technologies people are going to see soon (soon is naturally a relative term) so I figured it was time to get everyone up to speed.
Several years ago I made the rather bold statement we’d see a quantum computer in 2-3 years, and a functioning unit in 5. That was 2003 as I recall. We actually saw a quantum computer hit sales around 2008. A lot of people have commented that’s not a “true” quantum computer since it relied on existing tech – which has known barriers with Moore’s Laws. This is kind of the purist view of a quantum computer IMHO. But just to be fair … here’s a blip Science Daily about a “true” quantum computer from Japan this week…
ScienceDaily (May 6, 2010) — An experimental demonstration of a quantum calculation has shown that a single molecule can perform operations thousands of times faster than any conventional computer.
Now, it’s arguable that a this is just a fourier calculation and there’s not a full blown PC or anything connected to it… and on and on… Let me be clear. The future is not something created in one massive jump over night. It’s made in a lot of very little steps that happen not every day – but every second. It’s waves and waves of the next second, that cause you to one day wake up and discover that the tide of yesterdays has already come in… and you’re up to your neck in tomorrow.
Here’s a good example…. watch how this kind of thing goes from a news blip you don’t care about to most of the things needed to actually make it a reality – in your hands and you complaining about how the “new” model has the “cool” features…
In Japan they create a Iodine molecule based computer that’s 1,000’s of times faster than what we have today. We saw that above … but… over in… Zurich they’re creating an Optical Transistor Circuit for computers…
ScienceDaily (July 3, 2009) — ETH Zurich researchers have successfully created an optical transistor from a single molecule. This has brought them one step closer to an optical computer.
Oh wait… how do you connect an Optical system to an Electronic system like your keyboard or your web cam on your laptop? Hey… sorry – the future already happened on that one already… happened back in 2008 in case you missed it… so we have that…
Single-Molecule Sensing Breakthrough: Optical and Electronic Measurements Made Simultanously
ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, 2008) — In a study that could lay the foundation for mass-produced single-molecule sensors, physicists and engineers at Rice University have demonstrated a means of simultaneously making optical and electronic measurements of the same molecule.
Now… Atom based Quantum computer core(s)… Optical transistors – and optical / electronic switching and sensors… and then there’s the amplifiers and distribution systems (trust me – they have it underway), and the power supply which is most likely going to be some kind of hydrogen fuel battery (about 3 weeks between charges and uses… tap water to power it. Yeah… its very real) . And all of this, btw, are not the only works of their kind being done. There are several approaches on all of this work being done simultaneously around the globe.
These are just the most recent blips I found. Fact is – a lot of work is going on right now, and that’s not even the only quantum atom computer out there, once again it’s just the most recent. And I know the naysayers are saying “Hey you need a lot more than just a transistor and a processor what about…” – Microwave amplifiers needed to retrieve the data?? Like I said… Already being put together.
Okay but what about… storing data? Nanodots on the short term – about 3-5 years. You’re expected to be looking at a type mega-high-speed SSD card which holds several terrabytes. Yeah… that’s right I said Terrabytes – on one of those little cards that you use for your digital camera. Holographic storage according to GE and 3M is just a few years after that and the actual speeds or limits for storage are on those are expected to be frankly – science fiction levels.
The fact is the computers found on TV shows like Star Trek are just around the corner. Sci-fi like computing capabilities for all of us keep coming out, but like the guy at the beach waiting for the tide to come in, we’re expecting some massive Tsunami while the waters inch up past our feet, to our ankles, our knees, our hips… all the while complaining it’s not here yet.
Here’s some perspective for you… 20 years ago… there was no internet a “laptop” weighed around 5 lbs or more, and you had 256 colors (if you were lucky) for a screen and the biggest hard drive was around 10 mb. For $350 now, you can get a 3G Netbook that is more powerful, much faster, with more memory a vastly longer battery life and better graphics, than a laptop that 5 years ago – cost you $1500.
The “Next Generation” of computers are here every day. We’re just so busy complaining about how slow, how cheesy, how limited they are we keep missing the
advances we’re seeing. Just some food for thought while you wait for your quantum laptop … or your computer brain interface… oh… yeah forgot to mention – award winners for Computer Brain Interface designs were announced this month too