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Jay Harris

Jay Harris

IBM Research is making its quantum processor available to the public via IBM's cloud to any desktop or mobile device.

"This moment represents the birth of quantum cloud computing," Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, said in a statement today. "Quantum computers are very different from today's computers, not only in what they look like and are made of, but more importantly in what they can do. Quantum computing is becoming a reality and it will extend computation far
The cloud-enabled quantum computing platform, dubbed the IBM Quantum Experience, is designed to let people use individual quantum bits, also known as qubits, to run algorithms and experiments on IBM's quantum processor.

 

Jay Gambetta, manager of Theory of Quantum Computing and Information at IBM, told Computerworld that the public use of Quantum Experience will be free.

 

"Since this is open to the public, there is no organization or business that will have priority," said Gambetta. "There are several opportunities for material and drug design, optimization, and other commercially important applications where quantum computing promises to offer significant value beyond what classical computers can offer."


Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, Inc., said IBM's 5-qubit processor should be powerful enough to handle a variety of research and other computations.

 

"I personally believe this is a very big deal," he added. "First and foremost, it should significantly broaden interest in and work around quantum computing. At this point, those efforts are mainly being performed by researchers associated with companies and labs able to afford highly experimental and highly expensive quantum technologies."

 

King also noted that providing public access should help validate work being done on quantum computing algorithms and applications, which previously could only be run in simulations.

 

"The project demonstrates that IBM's concepts around quantum processors work, can be reproduced and are stable enough to support cloud-based access and services," said King. "If the project succeeds and leads to a clearer understanding of quantum computing, as well as workable larger systems, it will definitely be remembered as a game changer."

 

Earl Joseph, an IDC analyst, noted that in addition to fully building a quantum computer, the big challenge is figuring out how to program it. IBM’s move to engage the public should help with that.

 

“This experiment provides the opportunity for a large group of people to start to learn how to program quantum computers, which will help to develop ways to use this new type of technology,” said Joseph. “Hopefully, it will help to motivate students to go into quantum computing programming as a field of research…. It’s a milestone in allowing a larger number of people around the world to get their hands on this.”

Richard Doherty, an analyst with The Envisioneering Group, called the IBM move a potential game changer.

 

“Quantum computers may be the most compelling, rich-data, cognitive engines for decades to come,” he said. “Our eagerness to solve business, and societal IT and calculation challenges seems limitless. Data farms and smart data demand quantum computing power. If you make it, they will come. IBM and the public get to establish this.”

 

Although D-Wave Systems Inc., a Canadian company, has said it's built a quantum computer and Google and NASA are testing their own quantum hardware, many in the computer industry and the world of physics say a full-scale quantum computer has not yet been created.

IBM isn't saying it's built a quantum computer. What it has are quantum processors, which are much smaller than a full-scale computer.

 

According to IBM, four to five qubits is the minimum number required to support quantum algorithms and simple applications. IBM's quantum processor contains five qubits.

 

The company noted that its scientists think in the next 10 years they'll have medium-sized quantum processors of 50 to 100 qubits, which they believe will be capable of tapping into quantum physics.

 

At 50 qubits, IBM contends that classic computers could not compete with it in terms of speed running complex calculations.

A quantum computer uses qubits, instead of the bits used in classic computers. A qubit has the possibility of being both a one and a zero. Using qubits, a quantum machine doesn't work in an orderly fashion and can calculate all possibilities at the same time.

 

That means quantum machines should be able to work on problems requiring complex and massive calculations much faster.

Scientists hope quantum computers will eventually be used to find distant habitable planets, create greater computer security and find a cure for cancer and heart disease.

 

IBM's current quantum processor is being housed at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York.

"By giving hands-on access to IBM's experimental quantum systems, the IBM Quantum Experience will make it easier for researchers and the scientific community to accelerate innovations in the quantum field, and help discover new applications for this technology," said Krishna.

 

Source: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3065422/cloud-computing/ibm-makes-quantum-computing-available-in-the-cloud.html

Life is full of big decisions: getting married, buying a home, picking your default Web browser.

I’m serious. Think about where you spend the majority of your time on your computer or phone. It’s inside those four WWW walls.

“Apps will kill the Web!” prognosticators proclaimed, as if Achilles and his Greek army were invading. Yet on our app-packed smartphones and tablets, the browser is still the first stop to look something up. Not that you can always do that quickly: From typing URLs to managing tabs, our browsing problems only get worse on the small screen. On our more spacious laptops and desktops, the browser has become the home of our apps—our email, calendar, word processor, photo library and more.

If browsers have never been more important, why are you using the wrong one? Nearly 40% of computer-based Web surfers still use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, according to NetMarketshare. You realize that browser is not only sluggish but about as secure as a camping tent, right?

I’m not saying there is a perfect browser—except for my dog, named Browser, that is. But the best one for any device should nail the four S’s: simplicity, stamina, speed and security. A fifth S would be syncing—in a perfect world, all our gadgets would share browser settings, bookmarks and history.

After testing multiple browsers on many computers and smartphones, I’ve determined which ones you should be using—and found shortcuts to use with them.

Windows Computers: Chrome or Edge
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PHOTO: DELL; PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

If you’re using Internet Explorer on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer, please stop reading and go download Google’s Chrome. Once you see how much faster and cleaner it is, you’ll want to celebrate with cocktails. Don’t worry about leaving bookmarks behind, they’re coming too. (Just follow these transfer instructions.)

Not even Microsoft wants you to use outdated Internet Explorer anymore. It’s why Windows 10 comes with Edge, a brand new browser with an intuitive, modern interface. Goodbye ugly buttons and cluttered toolbars! It’s also why choosing a browser on Windows 10 is tough.

In industry benchmarks and my own speed tests, Edge and Chrome were neck and neck for first place. Firefox and Opera—two clunky yet long-surviving third-party browsers—trailed. Internet Explorer barely placed.

Yet unlike Chrome, Edge doesn’t hog so much of a computer’s power. On a Web-browsing battery test, the Dell XPS 13 lasted an hour longer with Edge than with Chrome. When streaming Netflix, it lasted two full hours longer. And security experts say Edge is as secure as Chrome.

So finally, Windows 10 PC buyers don’t need to download a new browser? Not exactly. Edge is still too rough around the...edges. Since it’s new, Web developers haven’t really focused on it, so Web apps can be slow or erratic. Plus, it doesn’t support feature-adding extensions. In Chrome, I use a calendar, to-do list and tab manager. Microsoft is adding extensions in the next version.

I suggest you use Chrome on Windows 10. The exception: Edge will eke out better performance on underpowered Windows 10 laptops and tablets.

Mac Computers: Safari or Chrome

Google’s Chrome has long been my default browser on Apple laptops, but my tests all proved this was a poor life decision. Apple’s Safari consistently scored 10% to 15% higher on speed tests. On systems with the weakest processors, like the new MacBook, Chrome occasionally rendered the system unusably slow.

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PHOTO: APPLE; PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

 

Yet again, the less-taxing browser led to noticeably better battery life. On a Web surfing test with the MacBook and a 13-inch MacBook Pro, Safari provided one more hour of battery life than Chrome. In a Netflix streaming test, the results were even more drastic: When streaming “Daredevil” on the MacBook Pro, Safari beat Chrome by two hours.

Chrome may be the top browser on the market, but its power hunger can make you want to avoid it entirely. Chrome product management director Rahul Roy-Chowdhury says Mac and Windows performance has become a big area of focus. Before every Chrome update, thousands of tests are run on many different Mac and Windows devices, he says.

On more powerful desktops or laptops, I’d still likely opt for Chrome. In the latest Mac OS X release, El Capitan, Safari has borrowed most of Chrome’s best features—including pinned tabs—yet Chrome still has a larger variety of extensions. Chrome is also easier to use when you’ve got dozens of tabs fighting for your attention, thanks to those tiny website icons appearing on each tab.

Some may be wary of using Chrome because of Google’s use of private data to improve its search experiences. But keep in mind that if you use Google’s search or other services in any browser, you’ll likely log in and be tracked anyway. Google provides full details onwhat Chrome does and doesn’t collect here. Most browsers, including Chrome, do have no-tracking privacy modes.

 
iPhone and iPad: Safari
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PHOTO: APPLE; PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
 
 
There are loads of things I love about third-party browsers for the iPhone or iPad. I love how Dolphin lets you swipe to see your open tabs. I love Opera Mini’s data-saving features. I love the simple layout on Chrome and Firefox.

 

But Apple doesn’t let you change your default browser, so none of that matters. Whenever you click a link in your email or text messages, Safari and only Safari will launch. Apple says it helps maintain an integrated experience. (Also, third-party iOS browsers including Chrome have to use Safari’s browsing engine, so there aren’t performance advantages to using them.)

So yes, Safari is the best browser to use on the iPhone and iPad. If you also use Safari on your Mac, you can easily sync your tabs, bookmarks and other settings across devices. Hit the tab button and scroll down to see them listed.

 
Android Smartphones, Tablets: Chrome

On Android, since Google supports changing your default browser, your choices are vast. In addition to Chrome and Opera, there’s Firefox, Dolphin and Puffin—not zoo animals, actual browser options.

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PHOTO: SAMSUNG GALAXY S7; PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

In speed tests, Firefox, Puffin and Opera often beat Chrome, yet I didn’t find those speed improvements to outweigh Chrome’s superior interface and Android integration: For easy access, your tabs can even appear alongside open apps in the app switcher.

Additionally, if you’re also using Chrome on your laptop or desktop, it seamlessly syncs your open sites, settings and passwords with your phone or tablet. (On Samsung phones, make sure you’re using Chrome and not Samsung’s own browser.)

Chrome has a data-saver feature, like the others, which compresses and optimizes parts of a site while you’re on a cellular connection. Chrome, however, doesn’t support ad or content blockers on mobile. If that’s important to you, try Firefox, my second pick for Android users.

Write to Joanna Stern atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source : http://www.wsj.com/articles/find-the-best-web-browser-for-your-devices-a-review-of-chrome-safari-and-edge-1462297625?mod=ST1

 

Saturday, 24 October 2015 09:10

Using the Internet for Research

The World Wide Web is an extraordinary resource for gaining access to information of all kinds, including historical, and each day a greater number of sources become available online. The advantages that the internet offers students are tremendous; so much so that some may be tempted to bypass the library entirely and conduct all of their research on the web. The History Department wants CU students to pursue knowledge with every tool available, including the internet, so long as they do so judiciously.

It is important to know that the Web is an unregulated resource. Because many unreliable sources exist on the internet, anyone – even people who have no expertise at all in your subject – can post anything at anytime. Many sources on the web have proven to be unreliable, biased, and inaccurate. Too much reliance on the web could do more damage than good. Checking the reliability and accuracy of information taken from random sites could take more time than going to the library. And using information you have not checked from such sources could have a detrimental impact on your final grade.

The key is to learn how to use the web to your best advantage.

  • To determine the best application of internet sources to your particular assignment it is strongly recommended that students talk with their instructors. Ask what internet sources will make your research and learning experience most productive.
  • Just as there are countless questionable and unreliable sources on the web, there are a growing number of newspapers, journals, archives, historical societies, libraries, colleges, and universities that are making their holdings available to all. One invaluable source is the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov), which has made millions of sources – written and visual -- accessible. Instructors and library research staff can help students locate many similar sites.
  • The internet should never be your only source when doing research. The best option for students is always the university’s libraries. Students should begin any research project by (1) familiarizing themselves with resources held in Norlin and other libraries around campus; and (2) accessing internet-based resources through the CU Library gateway.
  • A web-based tutorial, which will instruct library users on how to conduct web-based research, is available to everyone. It will show you: the difference between scholarly and popular sources, how to identify keywords, how to conduct searches on a library’s catalogue and through article databases, how to evaluate the integrity of sources, and how to use the information you find legally and ethically. The tutorial can be found at: http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/pwr/public_tutorial/home.htm
  • History students can go to a page designed especially for them. This link will give you access to subject guides in history as well as introduce you to reliable internet and CU library resources: http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/research/subjectguides/history.
  • The library maintains a page of electronic resourses, including searchable database, such as JSTOR and EEBO, so that students can take advantage of the considerable resources available to members of the university community

     Source:  http://www.colorado.edu/history/undergraduates/paper-guidelines/using-internet-research

 

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AOFIRS

World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

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