Modern operating systems would not be possible without the ability of a CPU to execute code at different privilege levels. This feature became available for mainstream PCs in the early eighties, when Intel introduced its 80286 and 80386 CPUs, and was readily employed by operating systems like Windows 3.11 and, of course, Linux, which Linus … Continue reading The protected mode in the x86 architecture
In quantum mechanics, the dynamics of a system is determined by its Hamiltonian, which is a hermitian operator acting on the Hilbert space that describes the system at hand. The eigenstates and eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian then correspond to stationary states and their energies, and finding these eigenstates and the corresponding eigenvalues is the central … Continue reading Navigating downhill: the quantum variational eigensolver
Even though physical implementations of quantum computers make considerable progress, it is not likely that you will have one of them under your desk in the next couple of years. Fortunately, some firms like IBM and Rigetti have decided to make some of their quantum devices available only so that you can play with them. … Continue reading Into the quantum lab – first steps with IBMs Q experience
If you wanted a slogan that summarizes key trends in the IT industry over the last 30+ years, then "everything is virtual" would be a good candidate. In todays computing environments, essentially every physical resource is virtualized - and pretty much the first resource where this happened in mainstream computing was memory. In this post, … Continue reading Virtual memory
Until the nineties of the last century, quantum computing seemed to be an interesting theoretical possibility, but it was far from clear whether it could be useful to tackle computationally hard problems with high relevance for actual complications. This changed dramatically in 1994, when the mathematician P. Shor announced a quantum algorithm that could efficiently … Continue reading Shor’s quantum factoring algorithm
The first PC on which I was running a copy of Linux back in the nineties did of course only have one CPU, so it was clear to me that it could physically only execute one instruction at a time - but still, it magically created the impression to run several programs in parallel without … Continue reading How does multitasking really work?
We are getting closer to the most spectacular early quantum algorithm - Shor's algorithm for factoring large composite numbers which can be used to break the most widely used public key cryptography systems. But before we can tackle this algorithm, there is one more thing that we need to understand - the quantum Fourier transform. … Continue reading The quantum Fourier Transform