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The first true photonic (quantum) computer goes on sale at the end of this year

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The first photonic computer will be going on sale by the end of the year. I've been fascinated by the idea that computers could be run with photons instead of electrons since the 80's when I read an article in Scientific American about them. But the promise of those efforts failed, mainly because they tried to create transistor style logic gates that used light. But light and electricity are physically very different so that analogy didn't work out. However a reassessment of the potential of photon computing has produced a new product from a young company; Lightmatter.





While the optical transistor was dying, a new kind of optical computing approach was being invented. In the mid-1990s, the field of quantum computing was growing rapidly owing to new proofs that showed that quantum systems could solve problems that were intractable on classical computers. There were many known approaches to implementing quantum systems, including using photons (single particles of light). In 1994, in hopes of building an optical quantum processor, Michael Reck and co-authors described a system that used arrays of a fundamental optical component — the Mach-Zehnder Interferometer (MZI) — to perform an important mathematical operation called matrix multiplication.







It's not good at logic operations, but what it does excel at is Linear Algebra, machine learning, chemistry, RAY TRACING. (go to the 15 min mark in the You Tube video)




This is that 1983 article in Scientific American I read;


https://ur.booksc.me/book/10696832/e271e8    (downloadable PDF of the original 1983 article)





Edited by L'Ancien Regime
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One of the keys of photonic computing's superiority is that it's non-Von Neuman architecture. The computers we're using have  Von Neumann bottleneck between memory and processor. Non-Von Neumann photonic architecture allows for in memory computing. But it gets far crazier than that when they start simulating neural synapses...and that is Neuromorphic Computing..







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Xanadu a Canadian quantum computing startup allows access to their Xanadu cloud service for free.



Xanadu Cloud offers you free access to photonic quantum computers, software, support and educational resources.

The Free Tier gives you credits for running smaller workloads on Borealis and X-Series quantum hardware, and enables exploration for everyone. If you are looking to run larger jobs, we offer a Flexible Tier (pay-as-you-go) with our cloud partner Amazon Braket. For researchers and corporate teams looking for dedicated access packages, please reach out to learn more about Xanadu's Partner Tier.



Quantum computers based on photons may have some advantages over  electron-based machines, including operating at room temperature and not temperatures colder than that of deep space. Now, say scientists at quantum computing startup Xanadu, add one more advantage to the photon side of the ledger. Their photonic quantum computer, they say, could scale up to rival or even beat the fastest classical supercomputers—at least at some tasks.

Whereas conventional computers switch transistors either on or off to symbolize data as ones and zeroes, quantum computers use quantum bits or “qubits” that, because of the bizarre nature of quantum physics, can exist in a state known as superposition where they can act as both 1 and 0. This essentially lets each qubit perform multiple calculations at once.

The more qubits are quantum-mechanically connected entangled together, the more calculations they can simultaneously perform. A quantum computer with enough qubits could in theory achieve a “quantum advantage” enabling it to grapple with problems no classical computer could ever solve. For instance, a quantum computer with 300 mutually-entangled qubits could theoretically perform more calculations in an instant than there are atoms in the visible universe.




Edited by L'Ancien Regime
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My name is Jon and I run the Asianometry YouTube channel. I started the YouTube channel a few years ago. I moved to Asia after spending a decade in San Francisco, studying business. While the most popular videos seem to be about semiconductors and high technology, I do make videos about economics and history.


Great channel to keep up on high tech and semiconductors. His father was an engineer at TSCM.  Really intelligent analysis not just of technology but the complex and arcane politics within TSCM ASML and other tech companies and how it affects us the consumers. 

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Taiwan Economic Daily reports that TSMC, Broadcom, and NVIDIA are forming a partnership with the aim of innovating the "silicon photonic" industry. TSMC has been rumored to allocate 200 professionals for R&D, primarily focusing on the tech in silicon photonic integration into high-speed computing chips, which could potentially lead to a major breakthrough for the AI industry.

TSMC is apparently highly optimistic towards next-gen silicon photonics development since the company's VP Yu Zhenhua has stated that the development could solve several problems currently existing in the industry:

If we can provide a good silicon photonics integrated system, we can solve the two key issues of energy efficiency and AI computing power. This will be a new one.

Paradigm shift. We may be at the beginning of a new era.

The semiconductor industry sees silicon photonics as the future, mainly due to the benefits it brings onboard. The conventional "electricity" data transmissions come with compromised transfer speeds, & the industry is demanding 'higher computational speeds" given that genAI development has reached unprecedented levels. To cater to this, silicon photons convert electricity to light, which guarantees faster speeds with a cost-efficient method. Intel also recently detailed its latest Silicon Photonics silicon at Hot Chips 2023 which is based on RISC and features an 8 core / 528 thread config.

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