Tag: cat

IBM creates cloud based quantum computer

schrodingers_catIBM unveiled the world’s first cloud based quantum computer which means that anyone can run quantum computing experiments from anywhere in the world.

Jerry Chow, IBM’s Manager of Experimental Quantum Computing Group said that IBM’s effort gives access to a much broader and larger space of computations.

“It’s a web-based platform for public to access to run quantum algorithm and quantum circuits on a real quantum processor in our labs. We want people to programme their own algorithms and learn what it means to do quantum computing.”

IBM’s cloud-based quantum computer will have just 5 Qbits and one quantum processor rather than an array. IBM plans to add qubits and even change processor configurations over time, but it will not be superfast.

According to Chow, IBM’s custom-built quantum processor is a silicon wafer etched with super-conducting metal which has to be super-cooled to 0.015 degrees above absolute zero.

Chow’s team has set up a queuing system and even a sort of virtual currency, called Q-Coins. Everyone who registers gets coins and can earn more by completing tutorials. The coins are used to run the tests against the Quantum silicon and get replenished when the experiment is done.

The IBM Quantum Computing Cloud interface includes tabs for a underguide and a place to keep track of your results.

Access to the real quantum computer will also reveal errors or “noise in the system,” which can help programmers refine their quantum algorithms. The environment will also include a simulator that will let you compare your results to those from the hardware or simply practice running error-free quantum algorithms.

Aspiring quantum computer scientists can access IBM’s Quantum computer here.

Russian boffins create two qubit quantum circuit

schrodingers_catRussian researchers have emerged from their labs smelling of potentially dead or alive cats after successfully testing Russia’s first superconducting, two-qubit, feedback-controlled circuit.

The research group from MIPT’s Artificial Quantum System Lab and Collective Use Centre had so far manged to develop a single qubit along with a parameter measuring circuit. Alexey Dmitriyev, a postgraduate at AQS said that in the the last six months, MIPT’s lab has done substantial and laborious work to organise the measuring process of superconducting qubits.

“MIPT currently has the necessary infrastructure and human capacity to deliver on building advanced qubit systems,” he said.

Dmitry Negrov, Deputy Head at the Collective Use Centre, added: “We now are at the stage where system parameters are close to the designed conditions. The next step is to take vital measurements, such as coherence time, and refine the qubit bonding. We aim to continue our work on these parameters in the future.”

Of course they are still a long way from actually getting a quantum PC which will run Windows or even solitaire, but they are getting there.

According to Andrey Baturin, Head of Scientific Management at MIPT, quantum technology research is one of the long-term priorities on the institute’s research agenda. “The Artificial Quantum System Lab and Collective Use Centre succeeded in obtaining unique equipment—modern lithographic machines and evaporation units for full-cycle production of qubits and, later, qubit systems; measuring equipment and ultra-low temperature cryostats that allow us to work with qubits at the milli-Kelvin temperature range. Such low temperatures are essential due to the extreme fragility of quantum states that can easily fail from interaction with the outside environment,” says Baturin.

Apple and Samsung fight gets silly

cat-fightIt seems that the next thing to set brother against brother is not religion or politics but which mobile phone you use.

Two Oklahoma, roommates got into an argument over whether Android smartphones are better than Apple smartphones and things got a little out of hand.

Coppers were called to the blokes’ apartment at 1:00am to investigate reports of a bloody person stumbling around the car park.

Police found roommates Jiro Mendez and Elias Ecevo. Mendez was covered in scratches and wounds, while Ecevo, similarly wounded, was inside their apartment.

Mendez told police that the wounds resulted from an argument between the roommates, which started over which roommate had the better smartphone—Apple or Android—and ended with both roommates allegedly stabbing each other with broken glass bottles.

Ecevo nicked Mendez’s car as you do in such cases.

Both men were first taken to hospitals for treatment of their injuries and were then booked at the Tulsa jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

Police would not be drawn on which phone was better despite the reporter trying to get them to say the iPhone was better. Has the world gone stark raving mad?

Google might have wasted its cash on a quantum computer

Last year boffins were shocked when Google wrote a cheque for $15 million for a quantum computer system called DWave.

Now it turns out that the device may not be all it’s cracked up to be and it might not be a quantum computer after all and Google was not the only one to fall for it.

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin paid a cool $10 million for the world’s first commercial quantum computer from a Canadian start up called D-Wave Systems. Last year, Google and NASA bought a second generation device for about $15 million with Lockheed upgrading its own machine for a further $10 million.

At the time, the move was heralded as a new era for quantum computation. Particularly when last year Cathy McGeoch at Amherst College in Massachusetts said she’d clocked the D-Wave device solving a certain class of problem some 3600 times faster than a conventional computer.

But now, according to Medium.com,  D-Wave has undergone a dramatic change in fortune.

A report from a team of physicists from IBM’s T J Watson Research Laboratory in Yorktown Heights, NY, and the University of California Berkeley, say that D-Wave’s machine may not be quantum at all.

Umesh Vazirani, one of quantum computing’s early pioneers, pointed out that the method used to define the machine’s “quantumness” did not really work. In fact the tests used could easily be explained with another classical algorithm.

“We outline a simple new classical model, and show that on the same data it yields correlations with the D-Wave input-output behaviour that are at least as good as those of simulated quantum annealing,” he wrote.

In other words if the D-Wave computer was not quantum at all, it would still be capable of producing the same results.

D-Wave can still argue that its machine is quantum but in a way that is not revealed in these tests. But at some point it’ll need to produce evidence to back up this claim and this might be tricky.

What is probably embarrassing for Google, NASA and Lockheed Martin is that they could have shelled out tens of millions for a cryogenically cooled pocket calculator or a potentially dead or alive cat. 

PETA wants to sue web opponents

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is so angry that it has been caught out euthanising animals in one Virginia shelter that it wants to sue the online magazine that revealed it.

According to the New York Post, the Huffington Post detailed how PETA euthanised puppies and kittens in a Virginia shelter that many had assumed is a “no kill” shelter. It could not have done anything worse, short of sticking the bodies in a fast food chain where they were sold as a vegan burger.

While the article itself has miffed PETA, according to the New York Post there was nothing that the animal rights group could do about that. The problem is that PETA can’t really argue that the article is wrong. More than 90 percent of animals are killed within the first 24 hours of being placed in the shelter. That is probably faster than many abattoirs. The paper work was prepared by the Virginia Department of Agriculture inspector.

What has got PETA’s goat is that it does not like being called “animal Kervorkians”.   This was a reference to “Dr Death” who performed assisted suicides. PETA would like legal retribution against people who leave posts like that.

But instead it wants to sue some of the people who have left comments on the article and is attempting to discover the true identities of their critics so that it can sue them for defamation.

Obviously to lay observers, it seems that PETA really does not like a taste of its own medicine. We are talking about the outfit which does not exactly use temperate language where it comes to people who eat meat or wear fur coats.

Filing a law suit against those who calls it names on the internet is exactly the sort of thing that even the big agricultural lobby groups would not bother with.

The problem is that PETA, which does have support among those who are clawing their back down the food chain, might lose a few of those friends if they are seen as being a bully against free speech. It is that free speech that PETA needs to carry out its own stunts. 

Tokyo cat grasses up mystery hacker

Japanese police had their claws out after trying to tail a hacker who used a cat as a key communications device.

Fur flew on Sunday when Inspector Knacker of the Japanese Yard fingered the collar of a man suspected of being behind a computer hacking campaign.

Crucial to the arrest was evidence gathered by interrogating the man’s cat, which proved more fruitful than the “confessions” of four men the coppers had previously arrested – who were innocent.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the hacker, Yusuke Katayama, 30, liked evading the authorities with a series of cyber-riddles. He left a trail of clues that had the police stumped, as well as sending numerous threats from computers around the country – including against a school and a kindergarten attended by grandchildren of Emperor Akihito.

Cops, caught in a cat and mouse game with the hacker, had been unable to stop him. They then became embarrassed by a scandal over the case when it emerged that officers had extracted “confessions” from four people who had nothing to do with the threats.

Prosecutors claim that Katayama sent messages to newspapers and broadcasters claiming details of a computer virus used to dispatch the threats were strapped to a cat living on an island near Tokyo.

After cracking a set of riddles, police found the cat and removed a digital memory card from its collar which revealed a message saying “a past experience in a criminal case” had caused the hacker to act.

The card claimed that the case “changed” the anonymous hacker’s life, and added that “no more messages will be sent”.

This time, the hacker had made a mistake – in that he trusted the cat wouldn’t snitch. Anyone who has owned a cat knows that they will sell their owner out in return for three square meals a day and a warm place by the fire.

After looking at the memory card and footage taken by security cameras, and giving the cat some of the finest salmon in Tokyo, the coppers had enough evidence to arrest Katayama. Police did not say if the cat had turned super-grass, but it looks like the cat had its paws all over the case. 

Series of riddles leads Japanese police to memory card on cat's collar

An anonymous hacker has let the cat out of the bag, stringing the Japanese authorities along with a series of clues that ended up with them finding a memory card attached to a feline’s collar.

A hacker sent threats to places across Japan including schools and a kindergarten, using a number of computers around the country. For months, the police were puzzled and were not able to track the sources.

Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) was caught chasing its tail. According to AFP, at one point, the NPA forced so-called confessions from four people who were totally innocent and had nothing to do with the emails.

Newspapers and broadcasters later received a set of riddles on New Year’s Day, apparently for the eyes of the police. One newspaper, the Sankei Shimbun, reported the email wrote of “an invitation to a new game”, as well as claiming the existence of a new computer virus – hidden on a cat somewhere near Tokyo. 

Within the emails were a number of quizzes, promising reporters that they were on to a big scoop – and the answers appeared to lead towards a mountainside just outside of Tokyo. When police finally found the cat, they also found the memory card.

No one is quite clear on the purpose behind the messages just yet, but the authorities believe the culprits believe the original messages are related to those that led detectives to finding the card carrying cat.

Theresa May appoints her cat to assess Gary McKinnon

Comedy home secrety Secretary Theresa May has defended her decision to let her cat assess whether UK hacker Gary McKinnon really has Asperger’s Syndrome.

May appointed Mr Tiddles to provide crucial medical evidence, despite never gaining any medical degree, nor having any particular interest in mental illness before.

The Home Office has ordered that McKinnon undergo a further medical examination to see if there is any risk he might kill himself if he is stuck in a US jail.

May is reported to be “personally concerned” that McKinnon has not been examined by a Home Office-appointed medical assessor. Indeed, she is so concerned that she has personally appointed someone with no experience in looking at Asperger’s.

Tiddles is well known at the Home Office for his break-through methods in kitty litter distribution. He is understood to be qualified in getting under the feet of junior ministers.

He is known as May’s Mr Oddjob because he is always leaving odd jobs around the place.

When cornered by TechEye, Mr Tiddles said “mew” and ran underneath the sofa.

We made some of that up. What is scary is that it is 90 percent true. The untrue bit was appointing her cat.

In fact May has appointed Professor Thomas Fahy, who has as much experience with Asperger’s syndrome as Mr Tiddles.

McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, said he had “no choice” but to refuse because the expert the Home Office had named to carry out the examination.

McKinnon had three medical examinations in April by three leading experts in Asperger’s and suicidal risk. Professor Simon Baron Cohen, Professor Jeremy Turk and Dr Jan Vermeulen all concluded that he was at extreme risk of suicide if extradited, and that he is unfit for trial. But that is not enough for May, she wants someone who knows nothing running the show.

To be fair this is Tory policy. After all, you have a Chancellor of the Exchequer who knows nothing about the economy, and you can get away with it, why not appoint someone who knows nothing about Asperger’s and suicide to do a report on someone with Asperger’s and how very well may kill themselves?

We understand Mr Tiddles hopes for a cabinet position in the next reshuffle. The cabinet is where there are the juiciest rats. 

Anyway, the Guardian reports that the crucial decision on whether to export McKinnon, complete with cuffs, will not be made until  October. The reason for this is because the Olympics are, to May, more of a priority.

Google straps 16,000 processors together

Researchers working for the search engine outfit Google have created one of the world’s largest neural networks which can identify if something is a cat or not.

For several years Google has been building a brain simulator by connecting 16,000 computer processors, which they turned loose on the internet to learn on its own.

Rather than hunting for Sara Conner, or plotting the end of human kind, the brain simulator hunted around the net for pictures of cats.

According to the New York Times, this is trickier than it sounds. The AI had a list of 20,000 distinct items to tick off before it said “that is a cat.”

The Google research team, lead by the Stanford University computer scientist Andrew Ng and the Google fellow Jeff Dean, used an array of 16,000 processors to create a neural network with more than one billion connections.

This was fed random thumbnails of images which were extracted from 10 million YouTube videos.

The software-based neural network mirrored theories developed by biologists that suggest neurons are trained inside the brain to detect important objects.

Most machine vision technology depends on having humans “supervise” the learning process by labelling features. In this case the computer was given no help in identifying features.

Ng said it was a matter of throwing shedloads of data at the algorithm and letting the data speak and have the software automatically learn from the data.

At no point was the computer told “this is a cat’ it basically invented the concept of a cat.

The Google computer assembled a dreamlike digital image of a cat by employing a hierarchy of memory locations to successively cull out general features after being exposed to millions of images. This is exactly what takes place in the brain’s visual cortex.

Google will present the results of their work at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, where there are a lot of cats.




Australian researchers create single atom transistor

Australian researchers don’t give a XXXX about Moore’s Law and have emerged from their smoke filled labs having created a transistor from a single atom.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a team from Sydney managed to create a transistor by precisely positioning a phosphorus atom in a silicon crystal.

Of course, it is being heralded as an important step in the development of quantum computers which are potentially neither here nor there.

Michelle Simmons, of the University of NSW, said single atom devices had only been made before by chance and their margin of error for placement of the atom was about 10 nanometres.

But by sticking the atom where they wanted it, they have come up with a building block for a super-fast quantum computer.

The technique involved using a scanning tunnelling microscope. They were able to replace one silicon atom from a group of six with one phosphorus atom.

Professor Simmons, director of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology and sheepdip, said that the device was perfect.

The single atom sits between two pairs of electrodes, one about 20 nanometres apart, the other about 100 nanometres apart. When the researchers hit it with a burst of electricity, the nano device worked like a transistor.

The research is published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, which we get for the spot Schroedinger’s cat competition.

Professor Simmons said Moore’s Law predicts that transistors need to reach the single atom level by 2020. The discovery has managed to knock eight to ten years from the industry’s schedule.