|Quantum Computing: The Rise and fall, and Rise, and...|
|Date||April 27, 2039|
April 27, 2039:
Quantum Computing: The Rise and fall, and Rise, and fall, and Rise and... See a trend? -
A Newswire Special Report
By: Bryan P. Whalen
"Captain, we're out of range! How are we going to let the Academy know that the--"
"We'll need to use... the Quantum Entangler."
"But that's untested captain! We don't know what'll happen!"
"We have no other choice. We're about to be guinea pigs, and if it doesn't work we can kiss Earth good-bye."
That scene from the 2015 Star Trek film by J.J. Abrams was one of the first times that "quantum computers" became a buzz phrase in modern media. While sci-fi fans had long been aware of the revolutionary theory of computing, using atoms and molecules to perform the memory and processing tasks, this was the first time the concept was introduced to the public at large. Due to the fact it was said by a Starship Captain in a big budget film most of the movie-goers dismissed it as science fiction, but even with that dismissal the phrase stuck.
Let's take a step back for a moment, two years before The Genesis Division was released.
In 2013 a company named QBRD was formed by Caleb H. Brown. Located at the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, the company was founded to research how quantum computing could make that leap from science fiction, to science fact. In 2007 Canadian startup D-Wave had created a 16-bit quantum computer that had been able to do simple functions, but the project had not gained much traction. The cost of building and maintaining these computers was simply too high, and by 2013 research was slowly grinding to a halt, especially with the escalating threat of the Resource Wars growing in the background. Due to a massive grant from an anonymous source, QBRD purchased D-Wave shortly after its inception, along with all the research materials and prototypes they had constructed. After an initial outburst of interest in the company, interest died down.
Then, in 2015, due to one scene in a major science fiction movie everyone suddenly knew the term quantum computing. The film has been said to be a windfall for QBRD, for when in 2016 and they announced the first release of a topological quantum computer, it garnered significant public interest.
Caleb Brown's main selling point for the computer had always been to eventually bring a quantum computer into every home. This was a controversial point for many, as the typical home PC or Mac was already so significantly more advanced than what the average user needed, industry critics argued why there was a need for it. What had once been science fiction, with media panels on walls, seamless video calling, and access to wide scaling streaming of almost all media content, had suddenly become commonplace, even in lower income housing. But where was the need for a computer that could render pictures of cats a thousand times faster?
August, 2022, the Technology Advancement Show in Las Vegas. QBRD books a major presentation in Hall A, on Day 1 of the conference. Interest is high, and Caleb Brown reveals something that shocks everyone in attendance: A home Quantum Computer, with a unique operating system, hundreds of dollars cheaper than anything else on the market, and without any of the pre-installed government observation-ware that had become so predominant and mandatory in the last few years.
The Q-PCU was a hit at the show. Pre-orders, both at the show and on the VR Kiosk went by the thousands. There was industry buzz everywhere and developers were lining up to make software that would go far beyond what had previously even been dreamed of.
And not a single commercial unit ever shipped.
To this day there is only speculation on what happened with the Q-PCU in 2022, as no official press release beyond a very tersely worded cancellation of all pre-orders was given. The rumor has always been that the US Government nixed the Q-PCU. The OS that it shipped with was developed by Worldview Industries, and was completely open source. There would be no hidden tracking or monitoring algorithms embedded in the browsers, and the power of the computer meant that the average user suddenly had a machine in their homes that could potentially challenge traditional security measures the world over.
Despite massive public outcry, and a significant drop in the company's stock, QBRD again retreated to the shadows, continuing to develop a quantum computer for use in government labs and for military applications. Worldview was one of their main partners and also one of the few that stood by them in the debacle following the TAS2022 show.
For the last 17 years QBRD has remained obfuscated in the shadow. They pulled all their government contracts in 2033 and became a subsidiary of Worldview, developing Quantum Computers solely for their parent company. As of late the rumor mill has begun to spin. With the American Government slowly piecing itself back together and relaxing security measures, as well as traditional security systems across the globe being upgraded with Quantum technology, perhaps we'll be seeing something new from QBRD in the future.