Quantum Computing Can Reshape Our Physical Infrastructure If We Let It

The dilution refrigerator and quantum processing unit inside the D-Wave 2000Q System.D-Wave Systems

Despite growing excitement around the transformative potential of quantum computing, leaders in many industries are still unfamiliar with the technology that’s likely to prove more disruptive than Artificial Intelligence and blockchain. This ignorance seems particularly acute in industries that deal with physical systems and commodities. In an informal survey of two dozen executives in transportation, logistics, construction and energy, only eight had heard of quantum computing and only two could explain how it works.

In many ways this lack of awareness is understandable. Quantum computing’s value to our digital infrastructure is obvious, but its value to our physical infrastructure is perhaps less evident. Yet, the explosion of power and speed that quantum computers will unleash could indeed have a profound impact on physical systems like our transportation and utility networks. For companies, municipalities and nation states to stay competitive and capture the full benefit of the quantum revolution, leaders must start thinking about how quantum computing can improve our infrastructure.

Unlike classical computers, in which a bit of information can be either a zero or a one, quantum computers are able to take advantage of a third state through a phenomenon known as superposition. Superposition, which is a property of physics at the quantum scale, allows a quantum bit or qubit to be a zero, a one or a zero and a one simultaneously. The result is an astronomical increase in computational capacity over existing transistor-based hardware. Google, for example, has found that its quantum machines can run some algorithms 100 million times faster than conventional processors.

Some private sector heavyweights are already developing infrastructure applications for quantum computing. Volkswagen AG, for instance, is working on a quantum computing powered traffic management system. Although AI applications built on conventional hardware are making cars and streets smarter, they’re not capable of matching the processing speed and power of quantum computers. Volkswagen hopes that its solution can be used to predict traffic patterns hours in advance, reduce congestion, forecast demand for mass transit and ride-sharing services. The company has already used a combination of conventional and quantum computing to optimize taxi routes in Beijing by analyzing billions of unique data points from 10,000 taxis and direct taxi drivers to areas where demand would spike hours in advance by analyzing the behavioral patterns of cell phone users in real-time. It would take conventional computers exponentially longer to perform similar tasks, making real-time insight impossible. In addition to Volkswagen, Ford is also looking to use quantum computing to transform transportation.

Beyond the automotive arena, the applications for quantum computing in infrastructure are innumerable. Quantum computers could be used to hyper-optimize logistics operations across modes of transportation, creating a more seamless flow of goods between maritime, rail, air and ground shipping. They could enable real-time, adaptive mass transit that responds to demand rather than following predetermined routes. They could be used to optimize air traffic routes on a national scale and eliminate air traffic control based delays. One day, a single quantum computer might even be capable of managing every aspect of a city’s transportation infrastructure, from autonomous vehicles to traffic lights to mass transit to flying taxis. This level of integration would create invaluable efficiencies and usher in an era of highly responsive transportation.


Computer coding as child’s play at Saturday festival in Augusta

With just a few keystrokes Vincent Blanchard programmed a computer, at the Maine Digital Festival, to draw a circle and a three-dimensional cube, though the 11-year-old confessed to the workshop instructor Jon Janelle he wasn’t entirely sure how he managed to draw the cube.

“It took a lot of coding,” the Augusta boy said. “A lot of thinking, too. Actually I don’t know how I got this, to be honest.”

Janelle, a software engineer for Tyler Technologies and a former teacher, said that’s okay, and assured Vincent that there is a lot of trial and error, and trying things you don’t know how to do, and even doing things without really knowing how you did them, in coding, even for adults whose career is in programming.

“I, all the time, if I don’t know how to do something, I just give it a shot,” said Janelle. “If it doesn’t work, it’s okay. We do this a lot in programming. That’s how you learn what things do. You just try stuff.”

Janelle explained the basics of what they needed to do but let the half-dozen middle-school-aged students taking part in the workshop Saturday figure out the details themselves, and also gave them time to just try out the programming language they were using, Python, which allows users to draw, and animate, pictures.

Vincent managed to draw what looked like a circle, without that particular skill being shown to him, by typing in commands and numbers to make the program draw a line making 180 separate turns on his laptop screen. His parents, Vanessa and Zach, also took part, though their drawings, for the most part, appeared to be less elaborate than his.

Vincent said he’d already done some coding before taking part in Saturday’s workshop on how to code using the Python programming language, making video games. He said he also likes to tweak codes, to see what changing them does to the program. He said he’d consider, when he grows older, seeking a career programming computers.

Jason Judd, program director for Project>Login, a nonprofit program of Educate Maine which seeks to interest, and educate, Maine students in computer science and programming, said the Maine Digital Festival also has the same goal, to instill an interest and knowledge in computers in Maine students.

“We believe every student in Maine should have access to computer science,” said Judd, who added that less than 30 percent of Maine schools have computer science programs for their students. “We see it as a foundational subject, like math or reading. We want to make sure students are learning to program and learning to code, so kids understand they can tell a computer what to do. Part of that is showing kids computer science is accessible, and enjoyable.”

Toward that goal of showing that coding can be fun, even for students as young as kindergarteners, Saturday’s festival at the Augusta Civic Center included activities for young students including assembling Code-a-pillars, caterpillar-like devices which kids assemble out of individual pieces, each of which represents a different command, such as to go straight or turn left or right.

By altering their placement of the individual sections, youths change the path the Code-a-pillars take when they are set loose to roam on their own.

Saturday students from the math club at the University of New England setup an obstacle course of fake mushrooms, with a basket full of prizes in the corner behind them. Kids who successfully assembled, or coded, their Code-a-pillars to make it through the maze of mushrooms to the basket got a prize. Jennifer Fatula, an assistant lecturer at the Biddeford college, said many youngsters were able to do so.

Shawn Pilling, a UNE student volunteering at the event, said it’s one of the club’s biggest events of the year and he and his fellow students wanted to help get young students interested in computer coding at an early age. He said he didn’t do any coding until he was 19 years old.

The Maine Digital Festival, which Judd said drew about 120 students, was held on the second floor of the Augusta Civic Center as, below in the auditorium, the Maine FIRST LEGO League state championship robotics competition took place. Students, who were between 9 and 14 years old, in that competition programmed robots they assembled as teams to complete a variety of scored tasks, primarily involving moving objects on a gaming table.


Elderly woman loses $42K in computer scam

Detectives with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office are investigating after an elderly woman said she was he victim of a computer hacking scheme.

“Somebody got into my computer!” explained the 72-year-old woman, who asked not to be named in this report.

The man claimed her internet provider owed the victim $300, which could be refund remotely.

“It’s an art form,” said Flagler County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Lutz. “They got onto the computer, took control of the computer, basically locked her computer and bank accounts, so she couldn’t view them.”

Deputies said the woman turned the computer off, but the scammer called back, saying he accidentally put too much money into her account and they needed that money back.  The woman said that’s when the caller became aggressive, and she got scared.

He told her to go buy gift cards and read him the serial numbers. He kept saying the cards didn’t work. She called police after spending $42,000 on cards.  Deputies say scammers like to target seniors.

“Especially during the holiday season,” Lutz added. “It’s going to be easy to fall for it, because you’ll be out shopping!”


A computer will help Somerset mother and son attain educational goals

Somerset resident Matilda Archer, 39, has spent the last 12 years taking care of her son, Dijon Archer, who brings her unimaginable joy.

Many who know her at the Somerville-based Jewish Family Services of Hunterdon, Warren and Somerset Counties say that she is thoughtful and always has a positive outlook on life. Archer and her son are part of the organization’s family mentor program, which provides tutoring once a week for her son, Dijon, who is in seventh grade, has a little trouble focusing, and the program is helping him keep his education on track.

She said her son has a variety of interests typical of a young man his age, including playing sports and hanging out with friends.

Archer said that while his grades have improved since participating in the mentoring program, having a computer would really help him because almost everything they do in school now is online.

This would also help her with her dream of finishing her college degree, as everything is also done mostly online in higher education as well.

Before deciding to go back to school, Archer worked at Player One Amusement Group doing accounting until Aug. 15 of this year.

“We nominated Matilda (for the Courier News Wish Book program) because she was recently laid off by her company, which was very hard for her because she is a single mother working to support her family,” said Young-ln Shin, family mentor coordinator at Jewish Family Services. “She is using this difficult time to better herself and improve the quality life of her whole family.”

“She is looking to go back to community college to finish her associate degree,” Shin said. “This has been a long-term dream of hers to get a degree.”

Archer said that because of her financial situation, she has not been able to complete her accounting degree even though she already has 49 credits. Her current situation has given her a golden opportunity to realize her dream.

“Raritan Valley Community College has a program that helps you go back to school if you’re unemployed,” explained Archer.

“A computer would help my whole family,” Archer added.

Jewish Family Services is a non-profit, non-sectarian, community organization which provides counseling, family mentor programs, senior mentor programs, and programs to help clients prepare for and find better job opportunities.


Computer Baba Presses Refresh Button, To Back Congress In Madhya Pradesh

Computer Baba Presses Refresh Button, To Back Congress In Madhya Pradesh

A group of religious figures led by Computer Baba on Friday declared support to the Congress for the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh.

It marks a radical change in the political stand of Swami Namdev Tyagi, popularly known as Computer Baba, who had been appointed as a minister of state by the BJP government.

Computer Baba had organised “Narmade Sansad”, a gathering of like-minded religious leaders from various states including Uttar Pradesh, on Friday to decide which party they should support in the polls.

“The saints will support the Congress,” he said at the gathering.

“When we can give fifteen years to them (the Bharatiya Janata Party), then we can surely give five years to Congress,” he said.

“If Congress upholds dharma, we will go with them in future or else we will withdraw the support,” he said.

In April, the BJP government in the state accorded him the status of Minister of State along with five others by appointing him on a committee for conservation of the river Narmada.

Before that, he had announced a “yatra” (procession) to expose illegal sand mining in the Narmada.


He resigned in October, accusing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of being a hypocrite and not fulfilling the promises made to him. The BJP government did little to stop illegal mining in the river, he alleged.


He’s Head Of Japan’s Cybersecurity But Has “Never Used A Computer”

He's Head Of Japan's Cybersecurity But Has 'Never Used A Computer'

Japan’s recently appointed cybersecurity and Olympics minister has told parliament he has never used a computer in his life, though he is responsible for overseeing cybersecurity preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, was named to the two posts last month by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, having never held a cabinet position before during his 18 years in parliament.

The minister made the admission at a parliamentary committee meeting on Wednesday when asked by an opposition lawmaker if he was computer literate.

“I’ve been independent since I was 25 and have always directed my staff and secretaries to do that kind of thing,” Sakurada replied. “I’ve never used a computer!”

Sakurada had said that he recognised that “firmly carrying out cybersecurity from a citizen’s standpoint” was part of his job.

When asked by the lawmaker how someone lacking computer skills could be in charge of cybersecurity, Sakurada said policy was decided broadly by a number of people in his office and the national government, and he was confident there would be no problems.



MHT CET 2019 Exam To Be Online; Syllabus, Marking Scheme Details Here

MHT CET 2019 Exam To Be Online; Syllabus, Marking Scheme Details Here

MHT CET 2019 will be conducted in online mode for the first time in 2019. State Common Entrance Test Cell, Maharashtra has released the syllabus and marking scheme for the Computer Based Test (CBT) MHTCET 2019-20. The State Entrance Cell is yet to release the schedule for the examination. However, based on previous year’s trends, the application process is expected to begin in February next year.

As per the notice released by State Entrance Cell, the CBT for MHT CET 2019 will have three papers. Paper I will be Mathematics, paper II will be Physics and Chemistry, and Paper III will be Biology (Zoology and Botany). Each paper will carry 100 marks and will have objective questions.

In case of Mathematics, the question paper will have 50 questions carrying 2 marks each thus making the total 100 marks.

In case of Paper II and III, there would 100 objective questions carrying 1 mark each.

There will be no negative marking, however the difficulty level for mathematics, Physics and Chemistry will be of JEE Main level and the difficulty level for Biology paper will be of NEET UG level.

The questions will be based on the syllabus of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. Approximately 20% weightage will be given to class 11th syllabus and 80% weightage will be given to class 12th syllabus.

While the question paper will cover entire syllabus of class 12, only certain topics from class 11 syllabus will be covered in the question paper. Students can find the syllabus and marking scheme details for MHT CET 2019 on the official website for Maharashtra CET.


India Post Payments Bank: Transaction Limit And Charges You Pay For Instant Money Transfer

India Post Payments Bank: Transaction Limit And Charges You Pay For Instant Money Transfer

Other than providing a free intra-bank fund transfer service to its customers, India Post Payments Bank also provides instant money transfer services. IPPB or India Post Payments Bank charges a fee ranging from Rs. 2.5 to Rs. 50 per transaction from its customers for instant money transfer through NEFT, RTGS and IMPS payments platforms, according to the government-owned payments bank’s website – ippbonline.com. NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer), RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) and IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) are payments platforms that enable instant money transfer – also known as wire transfer – from one bank account to another through computer systems.

India Post Payments Bank instant money transfer – transaction limits and transaction charges

For NEFT transfers initiated from access points, India Post Payments Bank charges a fee of Rs. 2.5-25 per transaction from its customers, according to its website. The bank charges a fee ranging from Rs. 2.5 to Rs. 20 for an NEFT transaction made through mobile banking, it noted.

Mode of money transfer Transaction size (rupees) Charges at access point and doorstep (rupees) Charges for mobile banking (rupees)
Intra Bank(IPPB account to IPPB account) Free Free Free
IMPS Up to 2,000 10 5
2,001-5,000 20 5
Above 5,000 50 10
NEFT Up to 10,000 2.5 2.5
10,001 to 1 lakh 5 5
1 lakh to 2 lakh 15 10
Above 2 lakh 25 20
RTGS 2 lakh to 5 lakh 25 25
Above 5 lakh 50 50
(Source: ippbonline.com)

For instant fund transfer through RTGS, the payments bank – which started countrywide operations in September this year – charges a fee of Rs. 25-50 per transaction, according to its website.


India Post Payments Bank customers are charged a fee of Rs. 5-50 per transaction for instant money transfer through IMPS, according to the lender’s portal.


Does Not Compute: Japan Cyber-Security Minister Admits Shunning PCs

Does Not Compute: Japan Cyber-Security Minister Admits Shunning PCs

A Japanese minister in charge of cyber-security has provoked astonishment by admitting he has never used a computer in his professional life, and appearing confused by the concept of a USB drive.

Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, is the deputy chief of the government’s cyber-security strategy office and also the minister in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that Tokyo will host in 2020.

In parliament on Wednesday however, he admitted he doesn’t use computers.

“Since the age of 25, I have instructed my employees and secretaries, so I don’t use computers myself,” he said in a response to an opposition question in a lower house session, local media reported.

He also appeared confused by the question when asked about whether USB drives were in use at Japanese nuclear facilities.

His comments were met with incredulity by opposition lawmakers.

“It’s unbelievable that someone who has not touched computers is responsible for cyber-security policies,” said opposition lawmaker Masato Imai.

And his comments provoked a firestorm online.

“Doesn’t he feel ashamed?” wrote one Twitter user.

“Today any company president uses a PC. He doesn’t even know what a USB is. Holy cow.”

Another joked that perhaps Sakurada was simply engaged in his own kind of cyber-security.

“If a hacker targets this Minister Sakurada, they wouldn’t be able to steal any information. Indeed it might be the strongest kind of security!”

Sakurada has been in office just over a month, after being appointed in a cabinet reshuffle following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reelection as head of his political party.

But he has already come fire for other gaffes in parliament including garbling an opposition lawmaker’s name and repeatedly stating “I don’t know the details” when questioned about his new Olympic brief.