Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IBM's New Quantum Computer Works




Very very interesting article linked below. 


It describes, in detail, how the five-qubit universal quantum computer processor IBM is creating works. The author concludes a functional low-end quantum computing device will be available in five years, along with toys that do neat tricks a year or two after that. IBM is inviting users with a serious need for quantum computing power to sign up for access to test the processors.

It boggles the mind to think of the potential uses of processors this powerful. I wrote about the intersection between construction and quantum computing last May, when I linked to an article about D-Wave's 16 qubit quantum computer. Quantum Computing and Construction.

There I said, in part:

In the built industry we are told, all the time, that the iron triangle of cost, quality and schedule cannot be broken. My contention is that's crap.  The built industry is burdened with a waste factor of at least 60% and there's no way, NO WAY, you cannot reduce cost, improve quality and build faster every single time in the built industry.  If 60% - or more - of the labor, materials and time expended on a project are wasted then building better building faster and cheaper is possible, no matter what the experts say. 
But controlling all three points on the iron triangle is tough.  Reducing costs impacts quality.  Increasing quality raises costs.  Cost and quality both impact schedule.  It's absolutely true that these three points on the iron triangle are connected and when you impact one you impact the other two to some degree as well.  But isn't the ability to control cost, quality and schedule on a complex construction project really, at its core, just an optimization problem?  I believe it is.  Plus a cultural problem.  And a legal problem.  But those last two are easy to solve with the right team, it's the optimization problem that has the industry stumped. 
Which brings me to the value of Quantum Computing in Construction.  To run a full blown optimization analysis on every critical decision on a complex construction project at every moment in time that such a decision is necessary is the Holy Grail of the BIM / VDC world. But to date we've been thwarted by the inability of our computers to wield the data found in massive BIM models.  And simultaneously keeping your finger on the pulse of the costs, quality and schedule of a project is a monumental task.  But, again, it's just an optimization problem driving the the facts / events as the occur / manifest themselves.
AS IBM and D-Wave press forward on the quantum computing front we will have access to more and more computing power. As an industry we need to be prepared to leverage that power!

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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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1 comment:

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