The Most Awesome Animation About Quantum Computers You Will Ever See

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2DXrs0OpHU?vq=hd720&rel=0&showinfo=0]

by Jorge Cham

You might think the title is a little exaggerated, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Theoretical Physicists so far, it’s to be bold with my conjectures about reality.

Welcome to the second installment of our series of animations about Quantum Information! After an auspicious start describing doing the impossible, this week we take a step back to talk in general terms about what makes the Quantum World different and how these differences can be used to build Quantum Computers.

In this video, I interviewed John Preskill and Spiros Michalakis. John is the co-Director of the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter. He’s known for many things, including making (and winning) bets with Stephen Hawking. Spiros hails from Greece, and probably never thought he’d see himself drawn in a Faustian devil outfit in the name of science (although, he’s so motivated about outreach, he’d probably do it).

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In preparation to make this video, I thought I’d do what any serious writer would do to exhaustively research a complex topic like this: read the Wikipedia page and call it a day. But then, while visiting the local library with my son, I stumbled upon a small section of books about Quantum Physics aimed at a general audience.

I thought, “Great! I’ll read these books and learn that way!” When I opened the books, though, they were mostly all text. I’m not against text, but when you’re a busy* cartoonist on a deadline trying to learn one of the most complex topics humans have ever devised, a few figures would help. On the other hand, fewer graphics mean more job security for busy cartoonists, so I can’t really complain. (*=Not really).

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In particular, I started to read “The Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments” by Jim Baggott. First, telling a story in 40 moments sounds a lot like telling a story with comics, and second, I thought it would be great to learn about these concepts from the point of view of how they came up with them. So, I eagerly opened the book and here is what it says in the Preface:

“Nobody really understands how Quantum Theory actually works.”

“Niels Bohr claimed that anybody who is not shocked by the theory has not understood it… Richard Feynman went further: he claimed that nobody understands it.”

One page in, and it’s already telling me to give up.

It’s a fascinating read, I highly recommend the book. Baggott makes the claim that,

“The reality of Scientific Endeavor is profoundly messy, often illogical, deeply emotional, and driven by the individual personalities involved as they sleepwalk their way to a temporary scientific truth.”

I’m glad this history was recorded. I hope in a way that these videos help record a quantum of the developing story, as we humans try to create pockets of quantum weirdness that can scale up. As John says in the video, it is very exciting.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to sleepwalk back to bed.

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Watch the second installment of this series:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2DXrs0OpHU?vq=hd720&rel=0&showinfo=0]

Jorge Cham is the creator of Piled Higher and Deeper (www.phdcomics.com).

CREDITS:

Featuring: John Preskill and Spiros Michalakis

Produced in Partnership with the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (http://iqim.caltech.edu) at Caltech with funding provided by the National Science Foundation.

Animation Assistance: Meg Rosenburg
Transcription: Noel Dilworth

2017-01-13T10:05:51+00:00 August 22nd, 2013|Real science, Reflections|40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Mr.ug (@pupilofyah) August 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Have you seen Robin Wilke’s research in the Chaining problem? She found all sorts of counter examples and I have joked that she is the first quantum computer hacker.

  2. […] The Most Awesome Animation About Quantum Computers You Will Ever See (quantumfrontiers.com) […]

  3. John S. Wilkins (@john_s_wilkins) August 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Faust was the scholar. Mephistopheles was the devil.

  4. […] the PhD Comics strip just released an awesome animation about quantum computers, embedded below. On the accompanying post on the quantum frontiers blog you can read up a little bit about the story behind the clip. And if you are new to the PhD comics, […]

  5. broadyesl August 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm - Reply
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  7. Suzicue August 22, 2013 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Very cool!

  8. Yoanda Alim Syahbana August 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply
  9. […] The Most Awesome Animation About Quantum Computers You Will Ever See – You might think the title is a little exaggerated, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Theoretical Physicists so far, it’s to be bold with my conjectures about reality.Welcome to the second installment of our series of animations about Quantum Information! […]

  10. […] Animación sobre ordenadores cuánticos   […]

  11. Frederik Kerling August 23, 2013 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Hey Jorge,

    Being a Grad-student (soon to be ex-grad student) in this very same field. I can assure you one thing: Very very very little is impossible. And Decoherence isn’t really a big problem.

    In my experiences understanding quantum is more like a fieldtrip in a large department store when you are four years of age. You can walk around on yourself. And once you let go of your peers that tell you where to go, you’ll immerse yourself in a world of exploration. Not limited but how things ‘should be’ or what ‘is not possible’. But simply but what you can see and think of is mostly possible. In Quantum engineering, theres is seldomly a ‘weird idea’. And it is the one science where wild fantasies are paying off more then whatever art-school could ever.

    Cheers!
    p.s. Check out Wheeler’s Delayed choice experiment.

  12. ychen August 23, 2013 at 6:43 am - Reply

    The best analogies of the quantum info theory I have even seen in my life! In particular, I’m amazed by the number in the box, which if you will see “0” from one angle, but “1” from another one

  13. […] Having a very late and very short lunch break today because I was involved in a series of meetings this morning all of which overran. That, together with the heat, has put me in a bit of a fluster. Anyway, while I drink my sandwich and eat a cup of tea, I thought I’d post this very cute video that I stumbled across via Twitter. It’s by Jorge Cham, the creator of Piled Higher and Deeper (known to the world as PhDcomics); you can find his blog post about these videos here. […]

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  15. […] Someday, somehow, quantum computing is going to change the world as we know it. Even the lamest quantum computer is orders of magnitude more powerful than anything we could ever make today. But figuring out how to program one is ridiculously hard. […]

  16. Quantum Chemist August 23, 2013 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Cool for people who don’t know Q of Quantum Mechanics!

    Yet another show-off from the Quantum Computing people. Keep it up!
    (How else will you get the funding?)

  17. […] different and how can these differences be used to build Quantum Computers? In this video from the Quantum Frontiers Blog, Jorge Cham discusses this exciting new field with John Preskill of Institute for Quantum […]

  18. […] Someday, somehow, quantum computing is going to change the world as we know it. Even the lamest quantum computer is orders of magnitude more powerful than anything we could ever make today. But figuring out how to program one is ridiculously hard. […]

  19. […] Someday, somehow, quantum computing is going to change the world as we know it. Even the lamest quantum computer is orders of magnitude more powerful than anything we could ever make today. But figuring out how to program one is ridiculously hard. […]

  20. […] Someday, somehow, quantum computing is going to change the world as we know it. Even the lamest quantum computer is orders of magnitude more powerful than anything we could ever make today. But figuring out how to program one is ridiculously hard. […]

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  25. […] by Jorge Cham You might think the title is a little exaggerated, but if there's one thing I've learned from Theoretical Physicists so far, it's to be bold with my conjectures about reality. Welcome…  […]

  26. […] more focused on the matter’s practical applications. The new matter may help scientists build quantum computers and complex crystals made of […]

  27. stephy October 1, 2013 at 3:17 am - Reply

    super

    • stephy October 1, 2013 at 3:20 am - Reply

      super.,quantam computer is favorite subject .so I love quantam computing

  28. Quantum Computers animated! October 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    […] Computers Animated has been posted to the NSF multimedia resource web page. Watch it or read Jorge Cham’s comments about the animation on Quantum Frontiers, the IQIM […]

  29. […] we watch The Most Awesome Animation About Quantum Computers You Will Ever See you find in the introductory discussion that if we consider a quantum system as a box with several […]

  30. […] we watch The Most Awesome Animation About Quantum Computers You Will Ever See you find in the introductory discussion that if we consider a quantum system as a box with several […]

  31. […] have both sorts of goals. Someone who studies quantum mechanics might talk about developing a quantum computer, but in the near-term be interested in perfecting some algorithm. A biologist might study how […]

  32. […] this is where things get weird. If quantum computers, femtometer motions or laser alligators weren’t enough, let’s throw in fractionalized […]

  33. its3dflythrough May 4, 2015 at 5:06 am - Reply

    really great animation. and Mephistopheles was the devil.

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