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 II is chiefly concerned with mechanics.


If it’s error, don’t fake it 

you will have to face it 

Sometime †


Think of quantum computing as a funny little problem from the future. 

Clues are left, red herrings playfully. The answers are not gift-given, no. The future is a clever parent making us children work for the money in our pockets. So: hard work, but as the time ahead is, no matter the ~topia: inevitable.

As inevitable as the mould of tomorrow mimics the mathematics – closing from all the ways to just one, and the remaining wash of positions are taken by chance and made merry into waste. 

Lay a prayer for those wasted positions, the numberless many holding superpowers until they end at none, for our benefit. (It’s cruel, really.)

The remaining single choice is zooed, a noose around its neck to walk round the cage, or perhaps it’s wrapped up food that will for sure get ate. Either way, we are the villains of our computered fate, swapping quantum froth for a single taste, when we could instead be using all of its taste-weight, the weight of a million sums last, not just 1 or nothingness. That was a binary joke – did you laugh hot air from your mouth fast? 


If you pick up a calculator, does it get things wrong? No.

If you tell a whale: do a bowtie correct, will it look fashion? No.

Put yourself between those two and you see the problem (well, three):

1: Language of human > whale is not understood perfectly

2: Are we even asking right? Does a whale attend black tie dos?

3: The real sense of the future – its whale smell – is mistake and error

4: Can you tell? 

Oops, a mistake there, but it made me real. If I were perfect I wouldn’t exist or even see the needing to. I don’t know, I feel.


For normal bits, a popular law says that we just add and add, pile on tinier more until the heat emits and clings. Exact on top of more exact until we can small no more and all the while we waste our machines and lives on this single cul de sac street, trapped, which is perfect.


Quantum bits, like me, they feel – they get things wrong, but also, with infinite siblings, get it right too, over and over, all of their time. A Qubit makes a million error, laughably so, but our view of correctness is one-dimensional-wrong, as a tetrahedron in 3D is sealed but in 2D is open for all time, unsealed, leaking and wrong and 

oh so lush 
and pretty 
and wild.

Place a couple of qubits together and the chance of their concealed rightness making our results seem yay is higher, so we think yessssss, and put more and more on top like our old laws told us, and the likelihood of error slows. We hold it in frozen-beyond-frozen chandeliers.

All the while missing the point that error is key.
Error is the language outside of classical reality we all should know, and in fact are expert in, through happenstance and million-generation breeding.

Rack it up in rows and embrace it, so the funny little problem the future set us can come barrelling in, inevitably.


† Share Some Love

Diana Ross / Wily Guys