Quipper Is a Language To Program the Nearing Quantum Computing Future


Five qubit quantum circuit. Image: Martinis Group/UCSB
Five qubit quantum circuit. Image: Martinis Group/UCSB
We like to talk about universality and portability in computer science. Alan Turing gave us his Turing Machine and, with it, the concept of Turing completeness. A complete programming language is capable of computing everything that is computable. What an amazing and bizarre idea that is, but completeness is something we happen to be able to prove (!). 

By Michael Byrne|MOTHERBOARD

Though he was very well versed in quantum mechanics, Turing didn’t seem to catch on to the classical physics limitations of his machine. Though you couldn’t blame him: The quantum computing alternative is that weird, a realm where the very notion of information is unlike what was once assumed to be an unwavering polarity between true and false. True and false is just logic or logical reasoning, and it’s ancient. Computers with transistors smaller than viruses still deal with true and false via gates and circuits that process and arrange all of those trues and falses into meaning. Computation.

Quantum mechanics allows something different, which are states of trues and falses together, squished into probabilistic arrangements of cohabiting ones and zeros. This is so fundamentally different and counter-intuitive that it still seems impossible.

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