1994 Fools: First quantum parallel computer announced

From kfl@access.digex.net Tue Apr  5 01:09:01 EDT 1994
Article: 7638 of comp.theory
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From: kfl@access.digex.net (Keith F. Lynch)
Newsgroups: comp.theory,sci.physics,sci.math
Subject: First quantum parallel computer announced
Date: 1 Apr 1994 00:08:11 -0500
Organization: Express Access Public Access UNIX, Greenbelt, Maryland USA
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Here at Northern Virginia University, we've just developed the world's
first quantum parallel computer.  This makes use of the well known
principle of quantum superposition to effectively parallelize a
computation as if the one processor was ten to the trillionth power
processors or more.

As such, we can rapidly compute the solution to a wide range of
previously intractable problems.  We quickly solved the travelling
salesman problem for the 50 state capitals, for instance.  We can
quickly factor any integer of up to ten to the 12th power digits.
We whipped up a program which will, for any mathematical theorem
whatsoever, quickly come up with a proof or disproof of less than ten
gigabytes, unless there is no proof that short.  It comes up, not just
with any proof, but with the shortest possible proof.  Also, for any
"one-way" algorithm (e.g. the one that encrypts password in Unix), it
can quickly generate an inverse algorithm suitable for execution on an
ordinary computer, unless there is no inverse algorithm of less than
ten gigabytes.

There are some things we *cannot* do with this setup:

* Predict the weather.  This requires not just lots of computation,
  but also arbitrarily precise knowledge of the weather at some
  previous time.

* Construct an encryption scheme which cannot be quickly broken by a
  similar computer.

* Anything which requires arbitrarily large amounts of memory, such as
  true AI, or such as computing the ten to the trillionth power decimal
  digit of pi.

The hardware we're using consists of an ordinary 486-based PC.  We
place it in a Schroedinger cat-box, which is what allows the quantum
superposition to work.  The main difficulty was getting the computer
to operate at the cryogenic temperatures necessary for this effect.

The effect itself is nothing new.  Every lens exhibits it.  Light goes
every which way at once in any optical system, but light is detectable
only at those few places in which it doesn't cancel itself out from
arriving out of phase from different directions.  But we're the first
to demonstrate the effect in an electronic computer.

We are looking for new and ingenious applications for this platform.
Please reply to this address.
Keith Lynch, kfl@access.digex.com

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