Are Quantum computers just analog computers under a new name?


There is plenty of scientific buzz about quantum computing, but almost no engineering.I’m just old enough to remember the Analog computer (with patch cords and amplifiers) in the back of the of my university electronics lab, with an Intel 8008 in the other.At that time ‘analog’ was coming to an end, and digital computing was coming to the masses with all its new languages and special logic (pascal, algol being new kids on the block to replace the veritable FORTRAN).Now I see that Quantum computing is all the rage, if only someone can get it working, and fathom how to progamme it. However the question remains: “What is the ‘it’ of which we speak?”.

I would posit that what we have a just a new way of interconnecting an ‘analog’ computer, where the ‘feedback’/coding is meant to take the initial random noise, amplify and select the appropriate components, and finally stabilise on some particular bias level that indicates our solution. Hopefully with minimal energy or power consumed by the computation (apart from the cost of running the refrigerator at near 0K).Where is the engineering explanation and conceptualisation of Quantum computing?, and Is it just a new fangled Analog computer?


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3 Answer(s)

Oh yes, they are analogies of ANALOG-computers, as you mention them.

Yes, I also remember the days of making computing tasks more mechanically “bound” to the mass itself — using fluidic-computers and similar equipment.

Yet, FORTRAN code still lives inside number crunching libraries until these days, often just a bit “hidden” under the hood of some more recent or popular interactive-“data”-provisioning layers ( Python / scikit-learn / scipy.optimiser tools / FMIN_L_BFGS_B() being executed on the end, still being in FORTRAN as one such example ).

Guess you might love to hear Bo Ewald’s great talk on Quantum computing seminar, where he explains devices in a popular manner, which was held on the last HPC SuperComputing-2017. He speaks both about different Q-device architectures, about steps for an original pre-setting the Q-device energy-landscape to start the process of D-Wave quantum adiabatic-annealing machine and also mentioned some newer inputs from Los Alamos National Laboratory having people from LANL Quantum-computing research group also speaking there, such as reversed quantum-annealing, problem reformulation and has a few live-examples, so indeed worth to have a look, if interested.

Video: D-Wave Systems Seminar on Quantum Computing from SC17

Answered on March 14, 2018.
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Hello there, I’m definitely not an academic but I consider myself a mad scientist.
Only recently started looking at Quantum Computing and trying to understand it and get my head around it.
And the same question crossed my mind. Is quantum computing actually Analogue Computing.
Which sent me researching analogue computers.
Which was very interesting. Most interesting to me was a water computer for doing economic calculations. Powerful enough to model a country’s economy. A half a century ago ! Older than me.

Answered on August 5, 2018.
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The only difference i know between analog computers and quantum computers is that quantum computers do not suffer from noise, meaning that they are completely predictable using mathematics and statistics. You cant simulate the noise from the signals taken from a real analog computer instead in an isolated quantum computer signals do not have noise.

quantum computers are more like digital computers, they dont analyze simple systems, the processing parts of most quantum computer designs are complex

Answered on August 8, 2018.
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