Israel’s Quantum Revolution

In 2019, Google announced that its quantum computer solved a problem in 200 seconds that would have taken a classical computer 10,000 years to solve. Now, the Israeli government is planning to build its own quantum computer, a project with far-reaching implications. David Isaac reports:

In response to what industry observers call the second quantum revolution, Israel announced on February 15 an ambitious goal of building its first quantum computer within a year.

The first quantum revolution led to inventions like the transistor, the laser, and the atomic clock, which [make possible] today’s information technology. The second is about controlling particles that show quantum effects, like photons and electrons. Although real-world applications are 10-to-30 years off, Israel, which punches above its weight in tech, doesn’t want to be left behind.

Moshe Goldstein, associate professor in the school of physics and astronomy at Tel Aviv University, explained that “Israel is a relative latecomer. We’re definitely not the first. . . . But everyone else in the world is not that ahead, so we still have a chance of catching up.”

Goldstein says that while Israel has announced an investment of 200 million shekels—or $62 million—that’s a fraction of what other governments have invested. China leads the world with $10 billion for quantum research. Germany dedicated $3.1 billion and France $2.2 billion. The United States in 2018 set aside $1.2 billion.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli economy, Israeli technology, Quantum mechanics

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus