dimanche, février 26, 2006





vendredi, février 24, 2006

neat article, meowmeow, about quantum computing...

Contact: James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Quantum computer solves problem, without running

By combining quantum computation and quantum interrogation, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found an exotic way of determining an answer to an algorithm – without ever running the algorithm.
Using an optical-based quantum computer, a research team led by physicist Paul Kwiat has presented the first demonstration of "counterfactual computation," inferring information about an answer, even though the computer did not run. The researchers report their work in the Feb. 23 issue of Nature.

Quantum computers have the potential for solving certain types of problems much faster than classical computers. Speed and efficiency are gained because quantum bits can be placed in superpositions of one and zero, as opposed to classical bits, which are either one or zero. Moreover, the logic behind the coherent nature of quantum information processing often deviates from intuitive reasoning, leading to some surprising effects.

"It seems absolutely bizarre that counterfactual computation – using information that is counter to what must have actually happened – could find an answer without running the entire quantum computer," said Kwiat, a John Bardeen Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at Illinois. "But the nature of quantum interrogation makes this amazing feat possible."

Sometimes called interaction-free measurement, quantum interrogation is a technique that makes use of wave-particle duality (in this case, of photons) to search a region of space without actually entering that region of space.

Utilizing two coupled optical interferometers, nested within a third, Kwiat's team succeeded in counterfactually searching a four-element database using Grover's quantum search algorithm. "By placing our photon in a quantum superposition of running and not running the search algorithm, we obtained information about the answer even when the photon did not run the search algorithm," said graduate student Onur Hosten, lead author of the Nature paper. "We also showed theoretically how to obtain the answer without ever running the algorithm, by using a 'chained Zeno' effect."

Through clever use of beam splitters and both constructive and destructive interference, the researchers can put each photon in a superposition of taking two paths. Although a photon can occupy multiple places simultaneously, it can only make an actual appearance at one location. Its presence defines its path, and that can, in a very strange way, negate the need for the search algorithm to run.

"In a sense, it is the possibility that the algorithm could run which prevents the algorithm from running," Kwiat said. "That is at the heart of quantum interrogation schemes, and to my mind, quantum mechanics doesn't get any more mysterious than this."

While the researchers' optical quantum computer cannot be scaled up, using these kinds of interrogation techniques may make it possible to reduce errors in quantum computing, Kwiat said. "Anything you can do to reduce the errors will make it more likely that eventually you'll get a large-scale quantum computer."

In addition to Kwiat and Hosten, co-authors of the Nature paper are graduate students Julio Barreiro, Nicholas Peters and Matthew Rakher (now at the University of California at Santa Barbara). The work was funded by the Disruptive Technologies Office and the National Science Foundation.

mercredi, février 22, 2006

student request...

Please refer to this site for a response to the Butz matter and consider signing the petition and spreading the word.


mardi, février 21, 2006

counter to their hopes

Regarding some photos I asked people their opinions of which depicted demonstrating Muslims threatening Europe and all non-Muslims with another Holocaust, beheadings, and other such violent cries of vile and insulting nature for the "insult to Islam" of the cartoons publish in the Danish newspaper. One particularly "classy" sign read "Europe is the cancer; Islam is the answer." Jewish comedians are funnier, but considering that levity isn't a Muslim thing, a rhyme like that isn't too bad from the humour angle. Other signs had phrases whose words should not be repeated and so I shan't do so here, but if you want to see the photos and haven't already drop me an email or leave me a comment. I received the following comment which poked at me and I felt compelled to share. "The apparent inability [of the Muslims] to detect the logical implications [of their actions and comments] is pretty amazing. The worst part of this sort of thing [the demonstrations and riots] is that it just leads to escalation of rhetoric, and polarization and hardening of attitudes. As a colleague pointed out, if people really want to get rid of the Jews, it would be much more effective to stop threatening them and let them assimilate."

YetiThinker sent me comments too, but he promises a post of his own on the subject so I shan't spoil it.

Recently at Northwestern University there was a whole hubbub surrounding the anti-Semitic comments of Arthur Butz, a member of the electrical enginnering faculty. The electrical engineering, computer engineering, and religion faculty all wrote letters calling for his resignation and decrying his lack of scholarship. The students of the Kellogg School of Management wanted to get him fired, which though many others feel that way the university feels they cannot do such a thing, officially because it would set an otherwise poor precedent for other schools. (One might wonder if it is because there is a self-hating Jew as the university's president and he is surrounded with staff in the administration who are Jew-hating non-Jews... but oh, well. We shouldn't dwell on that idea.) Anyway, that being said, one thing that has always made me laugh a bit is that, when things like this happen, the more virulent the attack, the more likely the Jewish community is to bond and strengthen. Perhaps these rascists, Holocaust-deniers, and anti-Semites are doing their part to help and strengthen the Jewish people... counter to their hopes.

dimanche, février 12, 2006

shabbat was interesting. I spent it at the local chasidic shul. I got wooed by a 38 year old divorced and overweight frummie who showed up in my chabad house and decided on the spot that she was interested in me, then there was a 27 year old relative of a frummie (there for the aufruf) working for a consulting firm offered to take my resume to help me get a job working for BlahBlah the company she works for all while amazed that I could read Hebrew said so, and obviously intrigued by the fact that I was this out of place foreign looking person in a chabad house... she started off with comments about how it's strange that the rabbi makes these comments with Hebrew words thrown in, but not to be scared or to feel bad since he's just spouting gibberish and no one else understands anyway. Then she realized that I read Hebrew reasonably well and asked me how I learned Hebrew, and I explained that I learned Hebrew in Hebrew School, omitting the silly fact that when I learned Hebrew in Hebrew school I really only learned to read words out loud, but not really to know what the heck they mean. Heh. so while I bentched she exclaimed to everyone around her "wow, look at her, I went to Hebrew school and never learned how to do that..." and then she would lean over listen to me and go back to being like, wow. At one point she turned to me and asked me if I knew what ethnicity I am and when I told the person I am Chinese she launched into a discussion about how her girlfriend is learning Oriental medicine and how she was a skeptic until she saw a demonstration by some fellow where he burned a piece of paper with his qi. I know a bit about that stuff too, but it is interesting of course how people decide what they should talk to me about and what they think I am based on how I look. Friday night a middle-aged woman came up to me and said "I'm Swedish and converted, though I'm not as religious as you." She paused and then said, "so do you like anthropology?" I cracked a smile and stifled a brief bit of internal surprise. It amused me. I have to confess though that there are reasons why sometimes I prefer quiet shabbatot where I can hide away and not deal with anything or anyone. In some sense this is what appeals to me about college campus Jewish communities. People are a little bit less likely to be poking at me if I'm another student in the crowd.

then again, when I went to the talk at Jeremy's shul on the history of CHinese Jews.. I swear every freak came out.. peopple decided to wear the most outlandish things in what was I suppose and expression fo their brotherhood with those of Asiatic descent? Who knows.. but mention soemthing foreign and Asian and you might get all the nutjobs in the Jewish community to come out. Oh, dear Lord.

As it is said... save us O Lord from those who would harm us, save us from those who are do not know how they could or would harm us, and save us Lord from those who so deranged they would harm us thinking we are someone else. heh, that's a bit dark, eh?


keeping the Faith 2000

it's an interesting movie.. an interesting premise certainly rabbi, priest, businesswoman friends from childhood since she rescued them from a playground bully... she has a joie de vivre that is infectious... but somehow has lost some of those priorities that make life worth living. Connected to her cell phone, connected always to her business.. most of which requires her to be a "ballbuster"and pushy, angry yelling at people to deliver, a persona that is all too commonly expected of successful business women. I watched this movie and saw stereotypes and cliches abounding. Don't get me wrong I thought it was funny, but I noticed underneath it all that the movie was about friendships... and perhaps it is that which I find my mind wandering off on today.

I look at people who say they want to marry a best friend. It's tough, because there are too many things people are trying to fill with a relationship. Too much space in the mind and heart that we are filling up with another person or too many things to do that when push comes to shove people are just afraid to find out what is inside.

Well, frankly, I suppose that is called navel gazing and there are many who don't approve of it. I myself don't really know what to say except that sometimes I think the world could care less what any given individual does.