The protected mode in the x86 architecture

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

Navigating downhill: the quantum variational eigensolver

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

Into the quantum lab – first steps with IBMs Q experience

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

Shor’s quantum factoring algorithm

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 quantum Fourier Transform

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