Three Prose poems inspired by the Q System One – the first commercially-available quantum computer. A cryogenically cooled, 20-qubit system hanging in a sealed glass case. It represents the dawn of a new and borderline-incomprehensible computing age, rife with odd concepts such as superposition, speeds faster than light and temperatures approaching absolute zero.

It is a field that promises huge leaps in the capability of computers, and is beginning to deliver glimpses of its potential. In approaching this first quantum product with design and aesthetics in mind, IBM has created a strange and compelling anomaly. The following prose poems are an attempt to convey some of the mystery and wonder of this field, from the mathematical concepts to the aesthetics, and seem to have ended up as part love-poem and part Haynes-manual (with a smidgeon of song).

Part I is chiefly concerned with aesthetics.


She says:
In time

There will be tomorrow

Hold on †


There is a chandelier of a quantum computer, baffling through its bits, encased somewhere beneath the grinding earth – the same grinding earth that hauls America out from the oceans and seas. At the top is a golden disk and beneath hang more – smaller on down, settling with loops and lines of super-cooled trace.

The speed of it (incomparable) will become outdated soon, as the future soaks in, but the aesthetics will continue grinning. The innards are splayed: a Victoriana of brass and copper and steel, all about to fall and with a temperature of nothing at all.

The quantum chandelier, IBM just call it Q – is heavy sovereign. It would be appropriate for Akhenaten’s tomb, he of new paradigm thinking. Although they do say that because of its capabilities, Q is unable to erase or overwrite. And “unable” isn’t the word you’re familiar with. A quantum computer, you see, is its own inverse and computes only reversibly, so delete is always undelete. An operational infinity.

Yes and No and Both and None.

Q is over-capable, over-achieves dimensionally – dealing with any ‘D’ you bring by adding another – 2D to 3D, you see my thinking. So a unit state machine, normally circle-serene, becomes a sphere of lossless simultaneity. What a thing.


‘Classical’ computers, as in all of them so far, have bits that are very tiny and very quick from A to B, or they can do simultaneous, superscaled, as need be. Dim but many, as the communists, for an idea, binned people en masse with impunity. 

Our chandelier, on the other hand, chuckles metallically at scenes of time and distance; exists so apart, so utterly, that all of our languages, born and bred within limits of perception – “classically”, as they say – bump their dimensional heads against the realer reality.

In this real, there are entangled bits, incomprehensible Q-bits that are linked. But that word ‘linked’ is merely a summary. For the link is faster than the speed of light, not just by a bit, but by so much that magnitude itself sits and has a rethink.

(Oh, and you cannot go faster than the speed of light, so…… What a tease. Like Easter Island chins on the ground nowhere near their sunken feet, in a land with no trees.)


The Chinese conducted an experiment once, pinged entangled bits from a satellite beam at two parts of their world. When they jostled one of the sent particles to certainty, the other mirrored at once, somehow knowing what to do.

Locality isn’t true?
Time isn’t true?

Well, yes and no. But those yesses and noes don’t work like they should. They are simply the one and the zero we see and feel, while behind the scenes, a roiling of new words or ideas-without-them and, above all, mathematics, makes all the bodies breathe. Equations are not just purer than words, they are everything we do and do not know. 



Don’t even try to understand, you see. Just believe.
Believe the speed and multiplicity.
Believe with certainty the transfiguration of our bodies and living scenes, our medicines and videogames (which are our bestest dreams). 

Eat those results and digest them, become quantum-healthy.
Do not sink to your PC’s:
Still trust your words (in your world).
Still trust the maths (all of the time).
And hopefully the world will continue easing forward as it always does, always has been, in no matter which dimensional breeze.

IBM could sell their Chandeliers to me and you, and who knew that the world would change so soon. From leafless isle to a world of trees.


Hold on

There will be tomorrow

In time

Says she.


† Hero

Mariah Carey / Wily Guys