Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Quantum Computer With Quantum CPU And Separate Quantum RAM

Back in 1946, the world's first general purpose electronic computer was switched on at the University of Pennsylvania. The huge processing power of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) stunned the world, or at least the few dozen people who had any idea what it was for and why it was important.
But ENIAC had an important flaw. It could only be programmed by resetting a myriad switches and dials, a task that could take weeks. And this seriously hindered the computer's flexibility.
The solution was not hard to find. it had already been outlined by Alan Turing, John Von Neumann and others: have a unit for number crunching and a separate electronic memory that could store instructions and data. That design meant that any reprogramming could be done relatively quickly, easily and electronically.
Today, almost all modern computers use this design, now known as the Von Neumann architecture.
The exception is the quantum computer. These devices use the strange properties of the quantum world to perform huge numbers of calculations in parallel. Consequently they have the potential to vastly outperform conventional number crunchers.
Unfortunately, physicists have only a vague and fleeting power over the quantum world and this means has prevented them the luxury of designing a Von Neumann-type quantum computer.
Until now. Today, Matteo Mariantoni at the UC Santa Barbara and pals reveal the first quantum computer with an information processing unit and a separate random access memory.
Their machine is a superconducting device that stores quantum bits or qubits as counter-rotating currents in a circuit (this allows the qubit to be both a 0 and 1 at the same time). These qubits are manipulated using superconducting quantum logic gates, transferred using a quantum bus and stored in separate microwave resonators.

Quantum computing hype
The computational power and informational density of classical computers is limited with uncertainty principle in the same way, like at the case of quantum computers. It means, for consumer electronics operating at room temperature it has no meaning, whether you would decrease the number of atoms in classical transistors to the physical limit for the sake of their information density or whether you would increase the redundancy of quabits for the sake of their sufficient reliability - the effectiveness of both devices will converge to the same value.

Of course, the quantum computers running at the (near) zero temperature would supersede the classical computers running at room temperature pretty much - but the classical computers would run a way better at these low temperatures as well

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Graduation is just a stepping stone

A degree helps you in your career only to a limited extent because what matters most are your written and verbal communication skills, analytical ability, team spirit and aptitude, said an expert at the HT Campus Calling counselling session in Gurgaon last week.

“Graduation is just a stepping stone. Beyond that it has no value,” said CS Sharma, associate professor, Shri Ram College of Commerce, who has also been the placement officer there for many years.

Sharma was part of a panel of college representatives, including Tanvir Aejaz, head, department of political science, Ramjas College and NK Gupta, associate professor, department of commerce, Ramjas College, which threw light on factors that work (or don’t work) in landing a job.

“If you want to work in the corporate sector, any course will do,” said Sharma at the event held in Shri Ram School, DLF Phase 3. The companies want to make sure you have those four (aforementioned) traits and they’ll train you for the work.

“There are companies in Gurgaon which simply don’t look at your course. They look at your personality,” said Sharma. If organisations need quantitative skills, they make applicants go through tests. “When it comes to numerical calculations and quick decision-making, they try to judge the candidate’s problem-solving skills by giving him situations,” Sharma explained.

Interestingly, the bachelor’s degree that trains a graduate best for the workplace is not among the much sought-after industry-oriented or professional programmes. The demanding BSc (H) programme in physics can give you a good base for a variety of careers.

“BSc physics graduates are preferred in investment banking, and stock markets. They have a large number of openings,” said Sharma. The mind “gets best developed” in a course like this, he said.

He also gave participants useful advice on certain combinations of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. “If you score very well in maths honours, there are companies like Google that straightaway pick you up. Maths honours plus MBA is a fantastic combination, particularly MBA (finance)…” Similarly, “people who do BA maths, MA economics and then pursue careers in economic fields, do very well. The same happens in mathematical statistics.” He, however, cautioned that these could be risky choices. “After the first year in college, your focus changes. So, the best option is to keep going on the straight path.”

The course should be chosen after the student has identified his/her interests and life goals, said the panellists.
Responding to an aspirant’s question about chartered accountancy (CA) and graduation, Gupta suggested, “Join the School of Open Learning and go do CA or join college and forget about CA for at least three years.” CA students face this dilemma due to the three-year articleship and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India requires them to produce a certificate saying their college classes get over by 11am.  

The second session included an interaction with a panel comprising Meera Ramachandran, principal, Gargi College; Ruchira Agarwal, assistant professor, department of fabric and apparel science, Lady Irwin College and Inderjeet Dagar, principal, College of Vocational Studies.

Seven career mistakes you should avoid

No man is an island, especially not in crowded cubicles. In an office, you need to work as a team. If you do well, give credit where it's due, especially to your juniors. Even if you don't get along with someone, be polite. There's no place for anger or tantrums at the workplace.
Remember, your electronic mails are being sent through your employer's server, so bad-mouthing someone on mail or chats in the office could lead to an embarrassing fiasco. Don't crib about your colleagues' work profile or the fact that they are favoured. Your talent cannot remain hidden for long, neither can other people's incompetency. You'll look like a fool if your own work falls short of the mark.
What's a network?
You may be a genius, but there will be times when you hit a roadblock. This is when your network of peers will come to your rescue as you can take their advice. It also helps you stay abreast of the latest issues in your field. Keep in touch with college mates, mingle during conferences and functions, and join a professional networking site.

However, ensure that you don't mix personal and professional lives. Avoid adding colleagues and bosses to your friends' list on social networking sites. Even if you don't post an inappropriate message about your workplace, there's no way of ensuring that your friends won't.
I know everything there is to know
No job is secure forever. The business landscape is changing constantly and if you don't want to be a dinosaur, you'll have to upgrade your skills regularly. You need to stay on a par with colleagues and others vying for your job. Don't expect past accomplishments to suffice. Learn constantly, especially from your mistakes. If a senior corrects you, don't sulk or complain. You'll not only exasperate your boss, but end up repeating your mistake and never learn.
I'm the best, I'm irreplaceable, I deserve that promotion
If you believe you are the only one who can do the job right, back your conviction with accomplishments. There's a difference between boasting and delivering. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't promote yourself, but do it subtly. Before you jump at the chance to be promoted, ask yourself: am I prepared for it?
A promotion not only means more professional responsibilities, but also changes in personal life. Make sure you are ready to shoulder these.
If you aren't, the step may backfire and destroy chances of future promotions. Don't promise to get something done without ensuring that it is achievable. "In the early stages of your career, there are more options as there are more jobs, but these reduce as you move up.
At a senior position, you need to be stable in a job for 2-3 years and learn everything about the company before you opt for a promotion. Jumping too soon may set your career back by 4-5 years," says VY Verma, COO, LG India.