The animated guide to quantum computing (Explanimators episode 6)
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The animated guide to quantum computing (Explanimators episode 6)

Killing time with another online cat video,
eh? And, to think: other people are busy figuring
out how to use quantum computing to overcome global hunger, prevent pandemics and even
reverse climate change. Fortunately for you, this is no ordinary cat
video. And I’m no ordinary cat. I’m Schrödinger’s Cat. Not familiar? Well, you see, Dr. Erwin Schrödinger, born
Vienna, 1887, he came up with a thought experiment about quantum mechanics… All you need is a radioactive atom, a Geiger
counter, a hammer, a glass tube filled with cyanide… And a cat in a steel box. I guess this is what people did with their
free time in the pre-cat video era. Not weird at all, Erwin… When the atom decays, it releases radiation. That sets off the Geiger counter, which triggers
the hammer to break the tube… And kill the cat who never did anything wrong
except spray the rug that one time you were at the lab all night, Erwin… Simple enough, right? Wrong. You know nothing about “Superposition.” It means that the electrons in the atom are
actually in multiple states at once. So the atom is both decayed and intact. Therefore, the cat – AKA me – is both alive
and dead. Until, of course, you open the box and observe
only one reality due to your inherent limitations as a human being. Back in the day, an understanding of the movement
of electrons helped create the silicon chip that powers this “traditional” computer. And an understanding of superposition will
power the future of computing. You see, quantum bits or “qubits” of information
will exist in multiple states. That means that a computer can cover numerous
paths at the same time – rather than sequentially… and do billions of years worth of computing
in a matter of days, hours or even minutes. Quantum computers will be able to model the
seeming chaos of mother nature itself and thereby move toward solving the planet’s
biggest challenges. But qubits are fragile little fellows that
have to work within a larger quantum system. That’s why Microsoft is creating “topological”
qubits to store info in braided paths of particles that are much more stable and allow for far
greater scalability. The company is delivering the algorithms,
hardware, advances in cold logic, cryogenics, software and developer programming tools…
to offer a full stack solution and make quantum computing more accessible. We’ll even be able to use quantum computing
to solve some of the mysteries of quantum mechanics. And that’s just so meta, I can barely stand
it. So, you may not have known me before today,
but I directly contributed to the chip that is allowing you to watch me now. Cat videos are what this thing’s really
for anyway, right? And remember this quantum kitty, because I’ll
also be powering the quantum computers that save lives, revolutionize economies and host
trillions of future cat videos… Some of which may have already been created
in alternate realities. Don’t think on that too hard… Either way, you’re welcome.


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