HPC from A-Z (part 17) - Q

Q for Quantum Physics / Mechanics

Quantum physics, also known as quantum mechanics or theory, is one of those subjects which most people know little about. The micro infinitesimal scale of what it deals with is often too hard to comprehend. Lucky it doesn’t normally crop up in everyday conversation, and is a subject which most people can simply forget about.

However, quantum physics lies inextricably at the origins – and future – of the universe and human life, explaining the behaviour of matter and energy at a sub-atomic scale. It is the focus of some of the most advanced academic research underway today.

While HPC isn’t directly enabled by quantum mechanics (although you could argue that quantum effects can be significant at the microchip level), HPC can lend a welcome helping hand in assisting with the huge amounts of data crunching involved. For example, Platform has been working with University of Lancaster since 2009, equipping it with state of the art HPC technology. The university’s HPC resources enable it to maintain an enviable record in cutting edge computer-based research. This includes fundamental physics and quantum transport in carbon nanotubes.

So with the role that HPC is playing at the bleeding edge of quantum research, mind-bending technology innovations are possible. Yesterday – the laser, semiconductors and electronic microscopes; today – quantum computing and cryptography; tomorrow….teleportation?


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