I already talked a bit about the intriguing aspects of the number pi and how it is intimately intertwined with the concept of infinity, information and the universe in these posts: here, here and here. But there is more to the Pi-Effect as just the number itself. It is about knowing the number to ever higher degrees of accuracy which starts to kick off events in an unforseen direction. That’s where quantum computers come in.
There have been two hallmark events in technology and science in the first half of the 20th century. One hinged upon men like Alan Turing, John von Neumann and Konrad Zuse who laid the foundation for the first computer to be built. The other paradigm shift happened a bit earlier, when quantum mechanics toppled our conventional picture of how things work at the micro level. Both had far reaching consequences.
As computers became ever more powerful, their internal parts needed to become smaller and smaller. But the smaller they become, the more quantum effects gain in importance. Our computers now are classical machines that don’t rely on quantum effects to work. Therefore the increasing importance of quantum effects is actually a problem for classical computers.
To break free of these limitations, there really remains only one choice: we need to embrace quantum physics and build computers that are built on its foundation, using the very effects that hamper conventional computers to build quantum computers.
In 2018 we are at the point where quantum computers are already functioning in research labs. They are, of course, still far from being a real threat to their silicon counterparts but that is only a question of time. Extrapolating the exponential progress made in the past 5-10 years, we can expect quantum computers to become more powerful and economically feasable within the next 5 years at the most. And that’s only the beginning. We don’t really see a limit yet to their potential.