What is Quantum Computing?- #15

What is a quantum computer and what is quantum computing? In this week’s episode, Daniel Bogdanoff and Mike Hoffman are joined by quantum computing expert Lee Barford.

Video Version (YouTube):

Audio Only:

0:45 Intro

Lee Barford helps to guide Keysight into the quantum computing business + enables the quantum computing experts at Keysight


2:00 The importance of quantum computing

Clock rates in all types of digital processors stopped going up in 2006 due to heating limits

The processor manufacturers realized the need for more parallelism.

Today, Lee helps engineers at Keysight take advantage of this parallelism.

Graphics processors can be used as vector and matrix machines

Bitcoin utilizes this method.


6:00 The implications of advancements in quantum computing

Today, there are parts being made with feature size of the digital transistor that are 10, maybe 7 nanometers (depending on who you believe)

So we are heading below 5 nanometers, and there aren’t many unit cells of silicon left at that point. (a unit cell of silicon is 0.5 nanometer)

The uncertainty principle comes into play since there are few enough atoms where quantum mechanical effects will disturb the electronics.

There are many concerns including a superposition of states (Schrodinger’s cat) and low error tolerance.


10:20 Is Moore’s law going to fail? 

Quantum computing is one way of moving the computer industry past this barrier

Taking advantage of quantum mechanical effects, engineering with them, to build a new kind of computers that for certain problems, promise to do better than what we currently do.


15:20 Questions for future episodes:

What sort of technology goes into a quantum computer?

What’s the current state of experimentation?

What are some of the motivations for funding quantum computing research?

How is Keysight involved in this industry?

What problems is quantum computing aiming to solve?


17:30 Using quantum effects to our advantage

Quantum computers likely be used in consumer devices because there has to be a very low temperature and/or a vacuum.


A quantum computer’s fundamental storage unit is a qubit (quantum bit).  A quantum bit (qubit) can be either 1 or 0 with some finite probability

A quantum register can store multiple qubits, and when read, have a probability of being either of these numbers. A quantum register can store more than one state at a time, but only one value can be read from the quantum register.

21:00 How does one get a useful value out of a quantum register? You do as much of the computation before reading the state and then read the quantum computers quantum register.

This works because the quantum computer’s either has such a high probability to be correct that you don’t need to verify it, or it’s simple to double check if the answer is correct.

21:00 How do you get the desired value out of a quantum register? You do as much of the computation ahead of time and then read the quantum computers quantum register.

22:30 Quantum computers can factor very large numbers (breaking RSA in cryptography)








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