@HPCpodcast: Quantum in Pictures Author Bob Coecke – High-Performance Computing News Analysis

The HPC community is typically a very intelligent bunch, but some segments of the industry call for an extraordinary, heavenly level of intelligence. One of them is quantum. Conversing—or attempting to converse—with a quantum computing specialist is, for most of us, a devastating and futile experience from which we feel oddly reduced. Quantum humans speak a language we don’t know and play a sport we’ve never seen, but we’re dying to understand both. Quantum could change the world. But how?

The problem is that existence at the atomic level is different from existence as we know it. As the theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman said of studying electrons in 1964: “Don’t keep telling yourself, if you can help it, ‘But how can it be like that?’ because you are “going down the drain”, hitting a dead end from which no one has escaped. Nobody knows how that can be.”

Because electrons “…behave in their own inimitable way, which could technically be described as quantum mechanical. They behave in a way you’ve never seen with anything before. Your experience of things you have seen before is incomplete. The way things behave on a very small scale is just different. An atom does not behave like a weight hanging from a spring and swinging. Nor does it behave like a miniature representation of the solar system with small planets circling in orbits. There also doesn’t seem to be anything like a cloud or fog surrounding the core. It behaves like nothing you’ve seen before.”

Into this opaque arena comes Bob Coecke, chief scientist at the quantum company Quantinuum, who co-authored with Stefano Gogioso the recent book Quantum in Pictures: A New Way to Understand the Quantum World, which seeks to make quantum more accessible.

READ :  Cloud computing is set to overtake ed-tech by 2023

In addition to his position at Quantinuum, Bob is Distinguished Visiting Research Professor at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Emeritus Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. He has been a prominent member of the quantum community for decades and his work has been featured in various media outlets including Forbes, New Scientist, PhysicsWorld, ComputerWeekly. He is also a musician and painter.

Bob Coecke

When Quantum in Pictures came out earlier this month, we were intrigued by the book’s cover and its hilarious incompatibility with Quantum. We also admired the quantum enlightenment spirit behind the book. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Bob.

We welcome your ideas for special topics and guest commentators. Feel free to contact Doug Black or Shahin Khan with your suggestions.