Our meeting this month will focus on the bleeding edge of Computer Science - Quantum Computing. For most of its existence computer science has functioned within a binary world of yes/no on/off technologies. Computing theory has speculated about the possibility of quantum computing and science fiction has long accepted it as a done deal that advanced computing would be probabilistic rather than logical. But theory and fiction have lacked a great deal of traction until now.
D-Wave Systems, Inc., headquartered in Burnaby, is the first commercial quantum computing company in the world. The company was formed in 1999, and has recently delivered machines to Google, NASA, and Lockheed-Martin. Quantum Computing is a brand new field which exploits the very strange properties of matter at the subatomic level -- and at temperatures very close to absolute zero.
Our speaker this month will be Mark Furtney, a Senior Software Developer at D-Wave Systems, where his primary focus is the tools which put the power of the D-Wave Quantum Computer System in the hands of users. Mark holds advanced degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Computer Science. His primary work experience has been in high-performance computing, including 14 years at Cray Research, Inc, where he specialized in parallel processing and was part of the team which first upgraded UNIX to drive a mainframe.
His presentation will focus on three basic areas - how the very un-intuitive quantum world works, how D-Wave exploits these weird properties to solve some types of problems not amenable to classical computation strategies, and how software works with the hardware to solve some of these problems. This looks to be a very interesting evening indeed.
As usual, we will have a book raffle and adjourn to Steamworks for drinks afterwards. But this month we'll have twice as many books as there was no raffle last month, which will of course increase your probability of winning!
So come on out, support your local user group and learn about why your next computer is already obsolete!
Note: We get the room at 6:00 so if you wish to do some networking and socializing please come early.