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[Column] Quantum Computing Age to Come ... Big Blue IBM Seeking Opportunities for a New Leap

"I'm not happy with all the analyses that go with just the classical theory, because nature isn't classical, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you'd better make it quantum mechanical..." At 'Physics of Computation Conference' in 1981, a physicist Richard P. Feynman first delivered the message that quantum computing is needed. Since then, after several decades of steady development and research, we are now in the process of defining quantum computing and developing algorithms. So, IT companies such as Microsoft, Google and IBM are developing a 50-qubit quantum computer and are working hard on research. When quantum computing is applied to various fields in the future, a number of things that the existing computers could not do will become possible. Existing computers computed and processed information using a binary system of 'Bit' using 0 or 1. Quantum computers, however, use the principles of quantum physics, also called quantum mechanics. They use 'Qubit (a.k.a Quantum Bit)' which allows 'superstition' state of 0 and 1, such as 00, 01, 10, and 11. Since they exist in an 'entangled' state, once a change occurs in one qubit, the other entangled qubit can quickly process it. In this way, as quantum computers can simultaneously exist in multiple states and act on all the states, it becomes possible to do numerous calculations separately at the same time with only one processor. Today, there are about 3 billion transistors in smartphones. To double the performance of this smartphone, about 6 billion transistors will be needed. On the other hand, the performance of quantum computers can be expressed as 'n square(s) of 2' with n qubit(s) because of the property of 'superstition' state. For example, if you want to double the performance of a device that has 16 qubits, you only need to add 1 qubit. Quantum computing is incomparably faster than computers using 0 and 1 bits. It will be possible to calculate the formula that humans calculate for hundreds of years within a few seconds. ▲ IBM has made it possible for anyone to experience Quantum Computing through IBM Q. (Image source: IBM has spent the past 100 years cultivating the foundations of IT and seeding it, and now it is changed to a completely different shape. Vacuum tubes, switches, punched cards, quantum computers and AI all exist in the history of IBM. Moreover, cutting out the history of x86 hardware that it had started and the shift from massive hardware- to technology-centered is also a specialness of IBM's history. Therefore, its history and journeys have a special meaning and need to be watched with interest. IBM pointed out three areas as the possible application areas for quantum computing in the future. First, it is expected to be a field of Chemistry including material design, oil and gas, and drug discovery. In fact, IBM published the results of the simulation using quantum algorithms with chemistry in September 2017 in the international science journal, Nature. The second area is predicted to be Artifical Intelligence (AI), which is a key technology of the 4th industrial revolution, including classification, machine learning, and linear algebra. Lastly, the quantum computing will take effect in a field of Financial Services, especially in the sectors of portfolio optimization, scenario analysis and pricing. Quantum computing's development phases include 'Quantum Foundations', which defines the basics of everything in quantum computing, 'Quantum Ready', which can develop algorithms and expand the sizes. And finally, 'Quantum Advantage' is a phase to commercialization and application to reality with quantum computing. Currently, IBM and also other IT companies researching quantum computing are at just beyond the middle of the 'Quantum Ready' phase. In fact, IBM expects quantum computing to be the mainstream in the next five years, and by 2020 it will be at the phase of 'Quantum Advantage'. In preparation for 'Quantum Ready' phase, IBM launched the Quantum Computing Platform called IBM Q Experience in 2017, making it accessible to anyone including students and researchers. At first, only 5 qubits were available, but now, up to 16 qubits are available. Released with IBM Q Experience, the Quantum Information Science Kit (QISKit) is an open source quantum computing system for developers to help make today's quantum development process and research more active. IBM is working on a 100-qubit quantum computer with the goal of developing it by 2020. The 100-qubit quantum computer has the ability to simulate all the atoms in the universe. ▲ The development of quantum computing will reduce this entire data center to just a few racks. (Image source: Samsung SDS) The performance improvements of existing transistor-based computer systems so far are approaching a certain physical limitation. Semiconductor processes are already nearing the level of physically close to the size of electrons, and the interest in what will happen to the next generation of silicon-based semiconductors is growing. Accordingly, the quantum computing has long been anticipated as an innovative way to go beyond "physical barriers." Given the impacts of quantum computing on us, it is likely to lead the changes beyond the cloud than what we see in the near future for various practical issues. This may be because the operation conditions of the initial system will be as tricky as a superconductor. On top of that, quantum computing is evaluated as a "double-edged sword". This is because it is expected to have the power to cause the collapse of the existing encryption system as well as the change in both the existing infrastructure and service structure. In fact, in March 2017, the world's largest security conference, 'RSA 2017', discussed the threats and countermeasures of quantum computer's threats to the existing encryption technology. Especially, the National Security Agency (NSA) has predicted that quantum computing technology could destroy the current code order since 2016. Canadian research institute 'Global Risk Institute' also claimed that it is higher than 50 percent that the current encryption system is collapsed due to quantum computers in 2031. For now, if quantum computing is commercialized and exploited, it is expected to pose a major threat to any industry based on IT technology. Worldwide web communications, Internet banking, and even cryptocurrency will be exposed to the crisis, and it will be time to change all the systems and structures. With these peculiarities in mind, quantum computing researchers will not only focus on the development of quantum computers but will also work in a direction of enhancing the quality of life after its commercialization. In other words, they should be focused on harmoniousness with other industries. That will be a major premise of 'Quantum Computing' for humans.

Google Play Audiobook Korea Release Demonstration Session

On January 24, 2018, Google held ‘Google Play Audiobook Korea Release Demonstration Session‘ in its office in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. The session was held to announce the outline and characteristics of Google Play's audiobook service, which was released on January 24th in Korea time, with Jae-hui Kwon, manager of Google Play Global Product Partnership Team, and Oh-jun Kwon, leader of Contents Business at Audiensori. According to the announcement, Google unveiled the Google Play Audiobook service, which can be enjoyed in the Google Playbook app. The service was first launched in 45 countries, including Korea, and supports a total of nine languages including Korean. ▲ The demonstration session of Audiobook service Korea release was held. ▲ Korea is included among the first-releasing 45 countries, and Korean is supported. The Google Play Audiobook service is a sound book service that allows you to listen to the contents of a book, and provides various categories of audiobooks and bestsellers based on the global library provided by publishers worldwide through Google Play Books. Through this service, domestic users can enjoy books produced in Korea as well as overseas books as audio books, and some of overseas books are provided free of charge. In particular, Google Play Audiobook service utilizes machine learning technology to automatically generate and provide a detailed table of contents that facilitates navigation underneath the main table of contents. Machine learning technology divides the text of an eBook and the words of an audiobook into syntactic units and automatically generates a detailed table of contents considering the flow of natural contents and a table of contents by detailed table of contents. By applying an individual book purchasing model, users can purchase an audiobook that they want at a 10% discount without any burden of subscription service. In addition, they can listen to a part of the audiobook through free pre-listening before purchasing and decide to make a purchase, and the purchased book is stored in the Google Playbook app, so users can easily check the list of purchased books. Google Play Audiobook service can be used on a variety of devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops using platforms such as Android, iOS, and Chrome Web. It also provides functions that are optimized for user’s lifestyle such as sleep timer settings, playback speed settings, skip forward button, listening to each table of contents, checking remaining time, background playback, and offline playback. In addition, through interworking with Google Assistant, which is Google’s artificial intelligence voice secretary system, a number of ‘hands-free’ functions such as voice commands will be provided to Google Play Audiobook service in sequence. Jae-hui Kwon, who introduced Google Play Audiobook service, said, ”Google Play, which has provided a variety of digital content such as games, movies, and books, is launching an audiobook service in the book sector followed by e-book. In particular, this is an innovative service with machine learning that users can use more conveniently in daily life. As interests and demands for audiobooks grow, we will provide richer audiobook contents.” ▲ The Google Play Books app lets you use the Google Play Audiobook service. ▲ It automatically generates and provides a detailed table of contents under the basic table of contents using machine learning technology. After the introduction of Google Play Audiobook Service, the introduction of the features and usage of audiobooks was followed. The audiobook, which means a book listened by ear, is a content produced for users to read more happily. It is produced by a method in which a plurality of voice actors who fit the characters read directly without mixing the TTS, and live sound effects and background music are added. In the past, audiobooks were produced mainly for the blind, but now they are getting the spotlight as a new way of reading. As for the process of producing an audiobook, after selecting the works and proceeding with the script work, the recording is carried out in the state where the music and effects are prepared. After the editing process and quality verification, it is then provided to users in a way of distributing the finished data. For listening purposes of audiobooks, users answered that they mainly use the audiobook contents to enjoy their own contents or to take advantage of free time while moving. Self-development, poetry, essay, genre literature are ranked as preferred genres. Oh-jun Kwon, leader of Contents Business at Audiensori, who introduced about an audiobook, said, ”Audiobooks are gaining attention from people who prefer to use free time, as well as from voice actors and students, and the number of users is rapidly increasing. I look forward to expanding the basics of audiobook users through our partnership with Google Play, and Audiensori will try to provide better content.”

EBS Documentary 'Themes Around the World-Journey through Canada, a Winter Wonderland' Preview

■ Introduction The world is big with lots of places to visit. However, we have limited amount of time on our hands. Is it really impossible to visit all the places around the world? There is a TV program that solves this problem: EBS Themes Around the World. Themes Around the World is not just an ordinary travel guide program, but is created to provide a firsthand experience of traveling as if one was backpacking around the world. There are many travel guide TV programs and information can be easily obtained through books and internet. However, what makes Themes Around the World different and special, nonetheless, are it’s “themes” and “curators”. The first reason why Themes Around the World is special can be found in its title. The program does not simply introduce famous tourist sites. Every episode has a theme and visits the places related to the theme. By doing so, we can visit places that are not yet known to many people and visit the places we already know of with a completely different perspective. Following the scenery seen in movies in Japan or experiencing Shakespeare in London can only be found on Themes Around the World. So how are the themes decided? Here is the second reason why Themes Around the World is special: each destination is led by a different host called the curator. From professors, writers, musicians to sportsmen, curators from various fields select and introduce a destination according to the chosen theme. With their expert knowledge in the different fields, curators provide unique and diverse aspects of the destinations that are unfamiliar to us. They not only lead the tour themselves, but are also the narrators of the program. The expertise of the curators allows the viewers to obtain in depth understanding of the destinations. Let’s take a look at a destination Themes Around the World introduces. The place we are going to look at is Canada. The curator who is going to guide us through Canada is the junior freestyle ski team coach Chang Bum Koo. Shall we start the journey to the winter wonderland? ■ Banff, Encountering the Winter Rockies Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park, is the gateway to the Canadian Rockies. Chang Bum Koo shares a vivid and lively experience of the Canadian Rockies as he skies down the Banff Lake Louis ski slope. He also explains in detail about “tree run” where skiers ski through trees. Curators offering insights into details that otherwise will not be noticed is something only Themes Around the World can offer. ■ The Hidden Treasures of the Rockies, Canmore and Jasper Located between Calgary and Banff National Park, Kananaskis is a vacation city in southwestern Canada. It hosted the alpine skiing during the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary. A helicopter tour of the beautiful Rockies is also available in Kananaskis. Derived from the word that means “stone wall” in Cree language, mount Yamnuska is famous for its scenery often seen in movies such as Legends of The Fall and Brokeback Mountain. To the south of Banff National Park is Canmore National Park. Various activities like dog sledding, horseback riding, and hiking to fully enjoy the Canadian Rockies are available at Canmore National Park. To the north of Banff National Park is Jasper National Park; one of the largest national parks in Canada. Its name derived from the word “jade”, waterfalls and lakes of beautiful colors can be seen at the national park. One of the many beautiful sites of Jasper National Park is Maligne Canyon. It is known for its beautiful scenery of Maligne Lake in the summer and ice walking over the frozen canyon in the winter. Glacier hiking up the Angel Falls also provides a spectacular view in the winter. Last but not least, not too far from the Angel Falls is Queen of Maligne, a waterfall too beautiful to miss. ■ Capturing Aurora, Yellowknife Isn’t aurora somewhere on everyone’s bucket list? You can see and experience aurora without the long hours on the plane through “Part 4 Capturing Aurora, Yellowknife”. The North Pole isn’t the only place where aurora can be seen. It can also be seen in Canada. Yellowknife is known as the “capital of aurora”. The temperature reaches the low of minus 30°C to minus 40°C in the winter and the high of 30°C in the summer. Yellowknife is located on latitude 65~70°, allowing aurora to be seen. Free from air and light pollution, Yellowknife is an ideal place to capture aurora. One can only wait to see the aurora. The program introduces various activities for the long waiting hours. People go fishing on snowmobiles surrounded by fields of snow. Looking at the scenery and waiting for the fish not only provides tranquility but also makes the long wait for aurora precious. Waiting for something in the cold that freezes everything instantly can be difficult and tiring. However, the view of aurora is definitely worth the wait. Aurora is a phenomenon that occurs due to the clash of solar wind particles and molecules of earth’s atmosphere and some people call it the “god’s soul”. You will understand why when you experience the aurora on Themes Around the World. ■ Conclusion We had a look around Themes Around the World under the theme of “Snowfields of Canada”. The tour was made more interesting and informative with a ski coach as a curator. Themes Around the World will visit many more places with various different themes. How about traveling to one of your dream places with Themes Around the World this evening? Part 1. Banff, the Winter of the Rockies Part 2. Canmore and Jasper, Deep in the Rockies Part 3. Lake Louise, a Romantic Winter Lake Part 4. Seeing the Aurora, Yellowknife