Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quantum Ctrl-Z

So I was bored for a little while one day, and so I decided to check out some stuff about Quantum Computers. I won't even begin to try to explain how they work. I don't understand it completely, but it's pretty awesome. As usual, Wikipedia has a great article on the topic.

But, one of the coolest things that a Quantum computer can do is an unlimited undo function.

If any of you have messed around on Microsoft's Paint program that comes with Windows, you know that one of the most frustrating things is that Paint's undo cache is limited to 3. You can only call undo 3 times before the program can't undo anymore.

This is how all computer programs work for undo, some just have enormous undo caches. But, in order to program an undo, the program basically has to save a snapshot of the program after each action and put it in a cache to bring back if the user decides to undo.

But, Quantum computers are Reversible Computers. (Here comes Courier!)

If a computer is reversible, this means that for each input into a logical function, there is only one output. (Known, more generally as a one-to-one function) A key feature of one-to-one functions is that they can have an inverse function as well. If you have f(x) = y, there should be an inverse function to f, ( we'll call it g(y) ) where g(y) = x.

Basically, for whatever input you give it, there is only one output, and you should be able to find a way to take the output and get the input back. Meaning that all you need to do to use "undo" in a Quantum computer is to send the output of the program (the results of your latest action) through an inverse function and you can get what you had right before (the program state right before your action). This means that you should be able to undo over and over again until you are at your initial state.

Of course, this would have to be implemented correctly by the computer engineers who make the first Quantum computer, but as Reversibility is really useful, I'm sure it will get done.

Anyway, the first fully-fledged Quantum computer is a ways off, so for now I'll be waiting for SSD, which I'll probably write about soon, because I know everyone's sitting around thinking "Geez, I wish my hard disk I/O was faster."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And Here We Go...

Although I hate politics, the recent election is an inevitable topic. I would be remiss not to say something, so I'll offer up a token post.

First off, I'd like to respectfully congratulate the President-elect Barack Obama. While I may disagree with a great deal of his positions, I believe that he will do what he believes is right. He will be leading our country for the next four years and I will give him my respect as I will give any of our presidents. I pray that God gives him the wisdom and guidance to lead in such a chaotic time.

That having been said, I was reading a few post-election articles when I came upon this quote (found here) which just begged to be addressed:

"This is the first election of the future. In many ways, we are moving toward a post-racial America," per ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "Look at how race really wasn't an issue in this campaign. 

Eighty percent of voters said they didn't take it into account anyway, and only 19 percent of the voters said they did. And Obama won both groups."

The mathematician (particularly the statistics side) cried out in pain. First, there's no source that I could find showing where they got these numbers, which means that for all we know they conjured them out of thin air. However, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they actually took some sort of poll.

Still, these numbers are complete questionable. First off, about 1 in every 5 people taking race into account when voting is nothing to brag about. That's a ton of people taking something into account that should matter about as much as a person's eye color. Still, it seems to me like the numbers are probably really off. As if there's any guarantee that the people are answering honestly. I can just imagine the situation:

Reporter: Excuse me you just voted correct?

American Citizen: Uh...yeah.

Reporter (holding pad of paper eagerly): Did you consider the fact that Obama is black when you voted?

American Citizen: Er...uh....

Just the fact that 19% of people were bold enough to say yes probably speaks volumes to how big of a part race played in this election. While I'm sure people could argue back and forth for days over whether or not that's a good thing, to suggest (as the reporter above did) that race didn't really play a part is patently silly.

That's all for now, hopefully I'll find something much cooler to talk about next time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

First Thoughts

I have to admit, my first thought was: "I wonder if they'll let me put Javascript in here..."

Probably not though.

So, for the few that will probably read this, let me explain why I'm doing this. For too long, a million thoughts, ideas, and various enigmas have swam through my head. It has hit a point where I'm not sure my brain can take it any longer. So I'm creating this in the hopes that somehow spilling it onto this blog will get it out of my head. I believe that this has about a 50/50 shot of acutally working. One way or another, I suppose I get to put a little of myself out there for the internet-accessing world to see.

So here's a little bit about myself:

I'm a Computer Scientist. I love technology. It is my professional passion. As a result, you'll probably see a lot of technology-related posts here. I can't promise that I can speak "English" during these posts. I'll try to remember to use Courier when not speaking English.

I am very Libertarian (which I never spell right, I looked it up just now to make sure I got it right the first time). I believe in personal freedoms to a very deep level. What Libertarians are is terribly obsucred by a lot of history. Wikipedia does a decent job of summarizing it here. I'm not saying that I agree with everything that Libertarians say, but I identify with them a lot. On top of my Libertarianism, I am a Minarchist. Minarchy is a step above Anarchy. I believe in government, but only where it is absolutely neccesary. So, expect these kind of positions wherever politics lurk on this blog (hopefully rarely, I hate politics).

I am religious, Christian to be exact. I don't plan on shoving my beliefs onto you, but some posts will be on religious topics. My beliefs on Christianity probably match about 3 people in the whole world, if I'm lucky.

Also, I hope to give some interaction for anyone who posts comments here. I will not delete them if I disagree with them, but if you feel the need to drop the f-bomb every other word, I suggest you go back to commenting on YouTube.

Let me be clear on one thing:

I believe that intellectual property is one of the silliest ideas I have ever heard. They'll be more on that later, but I don't believe that you can own ideas. So, steal whatever idea I put here for yourself. If you make 8 billion dollars off of it, I'll just be happy that my ideas got implemented somewhere. I'm not in the buisiness of thinking for the money, I'm in it for the changing of the world.

So that's the basic gist of myself, if you want to know more personal things than I'm sure you can find me on Facebook or something like that. Well, that's good for an introduction I think. I feel better already!