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The Quantum Connection: Chapter Six

       Last updated: Thursday, January 6, 2005 23:41 EST



    A couple of months passed before I made any headway at all on the Quantum Connected CPUs. I spent weeks on the Framework, in chat rooms, newsgroups, and downloading books on quantum mechanics, statistics, EPR experiments, Bell’s Inequality, Schroedinger’s Cat, and the effects of measurements on quantum phenomena. It turns out that although people had been trying to do quantum teleportation and such in experiments, nobody had really put it together with computing. It seemed kind of obvious to me once I was educated on the subject. Larry told me that that is “typical of classified projects.” After all, isn’t it pretty damned obvious that if you don’t want the surface of your aircraft to reflect radar back at the radar then you should minimize the surface area that the radar aperture sees? Maybe it wasn’t, since the stealth technologies were unheard of for years. But, now that the cat is out of the bag, it’s useless. Larry also had told me something that Heinlein, this science fiction author that I had never heard of, had written. Heinlein had once said something like “a secret weapon must be just that, a secret.” It makes sense when you think about. Larry then acted appalled and frightened that I had never heard of Heinlein and then threatened to fire me if I didn’t complete a book of his per month until I had read them all.

    “Consider this a reading assignment for your job, Steven. Sooner or later it’ll become clear why I want you to read any and all science fiction you can get your hands on. Start with Heinlein.” Larry told me.

    At any rate, we finally made some headway on the Quantum Connected CPUs (or QCCPUs as we had begun to call them). I had remembered something from a class on Computational RAM and Intelligent Parallel Processing that gave me a hint. There have been a few companies to attempt to create RAM chips that had miniature processors for each RAM location that could conduct the computation or data crunching in place on the RAM chip at each location within the RAM chip. The problem is that the data must be massively parallel and so must the problem for such chips to be useful. As a solution to the massive parallel problem these companies had then tried to add some artificial intelligence to each of the processors within the RAM to help break the problem down into more separate and parallel parts. If you just wanted to add a simple sequence of numbers together, this type of computer gained you some speed. The artificial intelligence would teach itself to break up the numbers into sections that would make use of having multiple memory slots and multiple processors like the following example:



    RAM1 RAM2 RAM3

    1+2= 3 3+4= 7 5+6= 11 1 CPU clock cycle

    3+7= 10 2 CPU clock cycles

    10 + 11= 21 3 CPU clock cycles.



    The sequential calculation without breaking the problem up and with only one RAM slot and one processor would look like:




    1+2 = 3 1 CPU clock cycle

    3+3 = 6 2 CPU clock cycles

    6+4 = 10 3 CPU clock cycles

    10+5 = 15 4 CPU clock cycles

    15+6 = 21 5 CPU clock cycles,



    which is two clock cycles longer. So you see where the AI on the chip and the multiple processors might help. The typical AI for problems like this were genetic algorithms and fuzzy logic. Sometimes people used neural networks to do the problem devolving and re-evolving, but I had a different idea. I decided to put a team of Agents on the job.

    With the advent of the Framework and even before, Agents had become the industry standard approach for controlling large problems without necessarily placing the user in the loop. Of course, the best Agents could talk to the user through some interface or other. If you are not certain what I am talking about when I say an Agent, then you haven’t been paying attention to computer stuff for about thirty years. Your favorite search engine you use on the Web utilizes Agents. The agents crawl around from one website to another making decisions on if this website has your information parameters in it and to what level of confidence. Now these are simple agents. Real Agents are actually persistent pieces of software that are completely dedicated to a specific purpose. One of the early real Agents, that I recall anyway, was called the SodaBot Agent and was invented by a guy at MIT’s AI Lab. I believe that guy’s name was Michael Coen or something like that. Well, he was developing his SodaBot code to be a program that could engage in negotiations and dialog with a system and coordinate the transfer and exchange of information between systems.

    A perfect science fiction example of this is Agent Smith from The Matrix. Agent Smith was simply a bit of software code whose total purpose was to look for anomalies and stop them no matter what. He had enough intelligence to carry out his function and he could definitely engage in “negotiations” and “exchange” information (or gunfire, which in The Matrix was just information packets).

    Well, I decided to create my own bunch of little Agent Smiths and SodaBots.

    I had built smaller agent programs before but never a real Agent. I spent several weeks reverse programming Agents that I downloaded from the Framework before I decided on the right type and features that my team of SuperAgents would have. I finished the code for one SuperAgent, copied it once, and then confined each copy to the input of a respective CPU and RAM on each side of the QCCPU. In other words, there would be a SuperAgent on each side of the Quantum Connection to engage in and coordinate the transfer of the proper information to the proper mini-processors and RAM locations.

    Two months later and I was demonstrating my two hundred billion terraflop computer on a single board the size of an index card, which only used about a tenth of a watt of power, to Larry and his Boss in the SAP/SAR room, where it was always kept now.

    “Jesus, Larry is this real?” Dr. Jack Frehley asked Larry.

    “Well, Jack, as far as I can tell our boy here has done it. I have tried giving that damned thing complex tensor math calculations and had the answer about as fast as I could type the damned question. Steve’s done it, I believe.” Larry was as proud of me as ever and it made me feel good. Not sure what the protocol in the conversation was, I kept quiet.

    “Well, Mr. Montana what do you have to say about this?”

    “I agree with Larry. Uh… I have not been able to do a problem or code on it yet that didn’t give the right answer on the other end. Of course that isn’t an exhaustive check. Somebody better at math than I am should try to find a proof or something that shows it works every time.” I was pretty sure it would work every time, but not completely sure. The SuperAgents could theoretically make mistakes, but I hadn’t figured out how to force them to.

    Then the conversation got a little weird for me. It was obvious that I was on the outside of its true meaning and would not be given the complete meaning of what Larry and Dr. Frehley were discussing.

    “Jack, I’ve already put in the visit request,” Larry told him. “I think we need to demo this thing to them as soon as possible.”

    “Yeah, I agree with you. Just once I would like to solve something before that damned Clemons or the Doctors Daniels do. We better get a meeting with the general,” Frehley responded.

    “The problem we’ve got is, Steve isn’t baptized yet.” Larry said that and nodded to the SAP/SAR sign. My guess was that he was talking about my security clearance level. But I had a Top Secret clearance, what else did I need?

    “Larry, as I’ve told you before. If you invent a batch of UNOBTANIUM, then those guys will get you cleared. It’s just a matter of signing the right forms and such. Get him over there to see them.” Dr. Frehley emphasized that he wanted us to get this demo done as soon as possible. All I got out of that part of the conversation was something about a general, a person named Clemons, and two people named Dr. Daniels. I had no idea where I was going, but I was gonna get there next week.

    Larry and I locked everything up and he told me to follow him to his office.

    “Alice,” Larry called the secretary as we passed her desk. “Could you get Steve and myself plane tickets and hotel reservations at Alexandria, Virginia for Wednesday and Thursday of next week?”

    “You want to fly into Reagan National and stay at your usual place I assume.” She looked over her glasses at us.

    “That’s right. Oh, and we’ll need a car.” Larry reminded her.

    We spent the rest of the afternoon discussing logistics of the trip but not where we were going to go. Then Larry made a few calls and we had to change our plans.

    “Well, Stevie my friend, looks like we might get you cleared after all. That was the security guy up there, and you’re going to go a day early and answer a few questions and get a briefing or two. Don’t worry about the details. I’ll go with you and make sure you get around all right. After all, D.C. is a big place if you’ve never been there before, and I wouldn’t want you wandering off down the wrong street after dark, or hell, in the day for that matter.” I was surprised that our nation’s capitol city had bad streets in it. You would think that, at least for appearances sake, our capital city would be safe, and that we would dare anybody to commit a crime there. I got on the Framework and looked it up, and I couldn’t believe it, but just about two miles and a half northeast from the White House, and even less than that from the capitol building, is a drug-lord infested neighborhood with an extremely horrible crime rate. As Americans, we should be ashamed of that; I was appalled.

    I had never been to Washington D.C. before and I still had no idea who we were going to see, where we would see them (other than D.C.), and why all the hush-hush, but I guess I would find out soon enough. And what was I going to do about Lazarus for two days?

    Once I got home, Lazarus and I repeated our evening ritual. I popped a couple of “happy pills” and took him for a walk. After the walk we ate and I had a beer, but something just didn’t feel right. I was nervous about leaving the little guy for two or three days. I knew that my veterinarian had a great kennel, but still, it made me nervous. I could just imagine how parents must feel when they leave their kids at daycare for the first time. Lazarus was the only real family I had had since… The Rain.

    The thought of leaving Laz at the kennel just continued to snowball with me all night long. I eventually started crying and hugging him and petting him fiercely. Laz just licked my face a time or two and then put his chin in my lap. I cried some more and tugged on his ears and scratched his tickle spot. Laz kicked his hind leg and wagged his tail feverishly. Obviously, I should’ve taken three pills.

    After that night I decided two things. One was that I had to put Laz in the kennel and get over it, and the other was that I was going to get the strength of my prescription increased. I didn’t want to start the crying again. I had been doing so well for the past several months. I must’ve crashed from the depression over Laz and the kennel, because when the alarm went off at six thirty the next morning I slapped the noisy thing off and raised up in bed. I pulled the covers back and placed my feet on the floor and then…

    I must’ve just really crashed. At about nine fifteen I finally woke back up with Lazarus licking my face and whimpering at me. Since my depression hit after… The Rain … there had been a few times when that had happened, and it usually occurred when I was about to become immune to the drugs.

    I told Larry that I had car trouble and he just kidded me about the old Cutlass.

    “You make decent money now, Steve. Why don’t you trade that thing in and get a new vehicle?”

    “Hey, you know Larry, it just never really occurred to me. Hmm…can I take the rest of the day off?” I decided he was right. What was my salary doing for me just sitting in my savings account? I never did anything, went anywhere, or bought much more than computer and gaming equipment. Why not?

    “Don’t get hornswaggled son. You ever bought a new car before?” Larry asked.

    “Uh, no just the Cutlass and it was old then.” I laughed.

    “Oh my God, they will eat you alive. Hold on, I’m going with you. Alice, Steven and I will be out the rest of the afternoon,” he yelled out his door. “Just let me shut this thing down and grab my coat.” He clicked off his laptop and that was that.

    We were going to buy me a new vehicle simply because I had been afraid to mention my bout of depression the night before. Oh well, I was beginning to want a new car anyway. All this new car talk had given me the fever. I ended up getting a middle of the road sports utility vehicle. I thought it would be easy for Laz and I to get around in it. Perhaps we would have to get out more.

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