The proliferation of social networks seems unstoppable now. Even the big ones you can no longer count on one hand: Facebook, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat – I am so uncool I didn’t even know about the latter until very recently. It seems that there has to be a natural saturation point with diminishing marginal return of signing up to yet another one, but apparently we are still far from it.
Recently via LinkedIn I learned about a targeted social network that I happily signed up for, which is quite against my character (i.e. I still don’t have a Facebook account).
The aptly named International Quantum Exchange for Innovation is a social network set up by DK Matai with the express purpose of bringing together people of all walks of life anywhere on this globe who are interested in the next wave of the coming Quantum Technology revolution. If you are as much interested in this as I am, then joining this UN of Quantum Technology, as DK puts it, is a no-brainer.
The term ‘revolution’ is often carelessly thrown around, but in this case I think, when it comes to the new wave of quantum technologies, it is more than justified. After all, the first wave of QM driven technologies powered the second leg of the Industrial Revolution. It started with a bang, in the worst possible manner, when the first nuclear bomb ignited, but the new insights gained led to a plethora of new high tech products.
Quantum physics was instrumental in everything from solar cells, to lasers, to medical imaging (e.g. MRI) and of course, first and foremost, the transistor. As computers became more powerful, Quantum Chemistry coalesced into an actual field, feeding on the ever increasing computational power. Yet Moore’s law proved hardly adequate for its insatiable appetite for the compute cycles required by the underlying quantum numerics.
During Richard Feynman’s (too short) life span, he was involved in the military as well as civilian application of quantum mechanics, and his famous “there is plenty of room at the bottom” talk can be read as a programmatic outline of the first Quantum Technology revolution. This QT 1.0 wave has almost run its course. We made our way to the bottom, but there we encountered entirely new possibilities by exploiting the essential, counter-intuitive non-localities of quantum mechanics. This takes it to the next step, and again Information Technology is at the fore-front. It is a testament to Feynman’s brilliance that he anticipated QT 2.0 as well, when suggesting a quantum simulator for the first time, much along the lines of what D-Wave built.
It is apt and promising that the new wave of quantum technology does not start with a destructive big bang, but an intriguing and controversial black box.