June 15th, 2006
Even for the crazy world of quantum mechanics, this one is twisted. A quantum computer program has produced an answer without actually running.
The idea behind the feat, first proposed in 1998, is to put a quantum computer into a “superposition”, a state in which it is both running and not running. It is as if you asked Schrödinger's cat to hit "Run".
With the right set-up, the theory suggested, the computer would sometimes get an answer out of the computer even though the program did not run. And now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have improved on the original design and built a non-running quantum computer that really works.
They send a photon into a system of mirrors and other optical devices, which included a set of components that run a simple database search by changing the properties of the photon.
The new design includes a quantum trick called the Zeno effect. Repeated measurements stop the photon from entering the actual program, but allow its quantum nature to flirt with the program's components - so it can become gradually altered even though it never actually passes through.
"It is very bizarre that you know your computer has not run but you also know what the answer is," says team member Onur Hosten.
This scheme could have an advantage over straightforward quantum computing. "A non-running computer produces fewer errors," says Hosten. That sentiment should have technophobes nodding enthusiastically.
Journal reference: Nature (vol 439, p 949)
| You scored as Hip Hop. As still the dominating youth culture in the U.S.A Hip Hop has very much dominated over white music for the first time in the 90s. Some claim it is lacking melodies and as such should not even be considered music, but the advanced emphasis on rythm has yet to be matched within any other genre|
Which Past SubCulture fits you best?
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Meh. 69% as a top score-- I don't think I fit in any subculture but my own.
On the good side, I'm done with all the color correction and fixing and fiddling. Barring catastrophe, of course, but I think we're good there. And that means I can relax a bit, but only a little since there is other stuff that is screaming to be done.
The months before CONvergence/Fringe tend to be a busy, busy time.
It's also the same time as the 48 Hour Film Festival. Which is partly why it's not in my schedule, at least this year. And that whole stab-me-in-the-liver-with-a-fork thing.
I love the idea of the 48. I just don't love the exhaustion and the not sleeping. Were I actually going into it and had time to prepare beforehand (like sleeping), I'd probably be much more into it.
But I've also done a lot of shooting under time pressures. Hell, all of Horror Incorporated was done under ridiculous time pressures; we would usually shoot four episodes in two days, which averaged over 20 air minutes per episode-- which means we essentially shot a feature film every weekend for two seasons. We got really good at fast production stuff. It's far from my favorite mode of operation which actually provides time to compose and light a scene.
So for the challenge part of the 48-- I know I can do it. I think it's more the cameraderie and immediate involvement in the creativeness of the project that would draw me, and most of that I can get with a project that's not under the time pressure of 48 hours.
Of course with the 48, your time committment is just a weekend. That has a lot of draw.
This will likely make any kind of productivity impossible.