Simanaitis Says

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I AM fascinated by AI, artificial intelligence, and its potential capabilities enhanced by the hyper performance of quantum computers. Today and tomorrow, I offer several tidbits I’ve collected over the past few months—which means that some of them are already out-of-date, but still fascinating. Today’s tidbits are Good News; tomorrow’s are less so.

Quantum Computer Capabilities. In The New York Times, January 16, 2018, Thomas L. Friedman offered an update on quantum computing, a familiar topic here at SimanaitisSays. Briefly, quantum computation replaces traditional binary on/off electronics with the sub-atom phenomena of entanglement and superposition.

An IBM researcher stands next to a cooling chamber containing a prototype quantum computer processor. Image by Andy Aaron/IBM from The New York Times, January 16, 2018.

Friedman reports on his visit to IBM’s Yorktown Heights, New York, facility where he was shown a 50-qubit computer unveiled last November. As described in “Flip-Flop Qubits” here at SimanaitisSays, a 50-qubit device achieves quantum supremacy, superiority in performing computational tasks beyond any digital device.

Accurate Modeling. Chemical modeling of molecules provides an example. Hitherto, even the most advanced digital supercomputers are forced to approximate molecular behavior. According to Arvind Krishma, head of research at IBM, modeling a caffeine molecule in its entirely would require a conventional digital device “one-tenth the volume of this planet in size. A quantum computer just three or four times the size of those we’ve built today should be able to solve that problem.”

Fast Operation. Encryption, essential in computer security, is another area ripe for quantum enhancement. Friedman cites an assessment in Wired magazine that computers may one day “operate 100,000 times faster than they do today.”

He also notes progress with three existing IBM quantum systems ranging from 5 to 16 qubits: “… they’ve already run two million quantum programs to prove out, and write papers on, theories that we never had the processing power before to prove.”

AI enhanced by quantum computing has a promising future. Everything from advanced medical research to driverless cars to enhanced real-time language translation seems within the realm of possibility.

Alas, tomorrow two significant questions are raised: How susceptible is AI to deception? And can AI ever exhibit anything resembling common sense? ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018


  1. Michael Rubin
    March 12, 2018

    To heck with AI exhibiting anything resembling common sense, the question is when we will?

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