The Quantum Graph

Why should your firm grant Noo Corp with venture capital?

This August, David Sacks made a post on Facebook which caused some stir in the venture capital community.

I think silicon valley as we know it may be coming to an end. In order to create a successful new company, you have to find an idea that (1) has escaped the attention of major Internet companies, which are better run than ever before; (2) is capable of being launched and proven out for ~$5M, the typical seed plus series A investment; and (3) is protectable from the onslaught of those big companies once they figure out what you’re onto. How many ideas like that are left?

This blog post addresses Sacks’ three points:

  1. The vast majority of tech companies are focused on creating cool new products – ‘killer apps’. No issue there, but the problem which has resulted is that there is, (a) a deluge of apps/services on the web that don’t communicate with one another; and (b) there is a massive disarray of data generated by these technologies. Noospheer recognizes that in order for the web to make its next leap of usability, data from disparate sources must be fully integrated and apps should tie into one another far more easily. We address the deep challenges associated with these problems from an entirely new angle: classical-quantum computing (performing quantum operations by efficiently utilizing commodity hardware). Our project argues that this is an approach which has ‘escaped the attention of major Internet companies’. — As an additional point, the revenue generation potential associated with a data integration platform is enormous. As yet, there is no eBay of data. See the model.
  2. Our ask is $1.4m CAD. Including the seed we raised previously, we can prove out the design for less than a third of Sacks’ magic number.
  3. Being built on top of battle-tested open source parts, the software is fully protected by the open source paradigm. For an argument in favor of open source from a business perspective, see this.

The search for venture capital has taken this project around the world — North America, Europe and Asia. As yet, we have met resistance and continually refine our tactics. We seek investor(s) willing to take relatively small risk on a solid team for major reward.


Small Data

Big data is big buzz these days. Essentially, there’s a lot of data out there and its a massive, attic-style mess — crap is strewn all over the place!

Companies in this space love to talk about peta, exa, zetta or yottabytes (1 petabyte = 1 million gigs). Yet the entirety of Wikipedia English is ~200gb. Seemingly forgotten in the big data world is the process of normalization, where a data set is compressed without losing the information’s fidelity.

With some simple record deduplication, combined with a generic spatial schema that works with tabular and graph data, noospheer will make big data a lot smaller — thus permitting far greater informational diversity and complexity than currently achieved.

You can download wiki here.

Ghost in the Martian

Total Recall, 1990

Save the Moon landings, Mars Science Lab aka Curiosity is NASA’s crowning technical achievement. The complexity of its entry, descent and landing (EDL), the rugged capability of its large and flexible design, and high ingenuity of its instrumentation; all come together as a complete package for deep exploration of the Sun’s 4th planet. Mars is no longer such a distant frontier thanks to missions like this one.

With hardware that goes to other worlds, there come design challenges such as having to radiation-harden the computer. Since it currently takes many years to plan and build a robotic space probe, the processor and memory specs are well behind the cutting edge back here on Earth. MSL RCE (rover compute element) is equipped with two twin computers (1 as backup): 200MHz single-core processor, 256mb RAM, 2gb flash. The top data transfer rate between Earth and the rover via Mars reconnaissance orbiter (MRO) is 2mbits per second. All quite modest but still damn impressive given Mariner 4 returned a total of 634kb which included 22 images back in 1965.

The Mini Cooper-sized vehicle runs on a plutonium-powered generator that puts out 125 watts – for comparison, a mid-range computer power supply from your local hardware store will channel 5 times that!

Given that computational power and raw electricity are limited, the focus then becomes how you use it. The MSL software team writes and uploads new programs on a sol by sol basis, so the rover is not exactly autonomous – other than its hazard-avoidance capability. It faithfully goes exactly where Earth tells it and carries out precise instructions for imaging, surveying, sampling and so on. Given the one way time delay between Earth and Mars ranges from 4 to 22 minutes, controlling Curiosity presumably consists of sending over long, linear instructions.

As a software development outfit, Noo Corp has tasked itself with squeezing hidden potential out of typical computing hardware by emulating qubits. We recognize that the great challenges of modern computer science are relatively simple problems for quantum hardware. Therefore, writing classical code that takes efficient advantage of quantum math is the answer to many tough and important questions. Such questions include, ‘can Curiosity independently carry out advanced science with only general instructions from Earth?’ In other words, can software alone turbo boost the rover’s intelligence, and thereby transform her into a full blown scientist – not just a lowly researcher? 😉

We argue, ‘yes’.

Mars’ first closeup, 15 July 1965

Mission Updates

A Sad, Telling & Hopeful Tale: Apple vs Samsung

Apple stock rallied while Samsung slipped after Friday’s US court ruling that the latter must pay the former in the amount of $1.05b for patent infringement. The essence of Apple’s argument is that it holds a patent on thin rectangular devices with rounded corners (Design Patent 504,889).

  • This story is sad because a company has successfully enforced a claim that it ‘invented’ rounded rectangles.
  • It’s telling of how the patent system simply does not fit this century.
  • It’s hopeful as it points to the future of hardware — open source hardware.

Like software, hardware has an open movement too. It’s younger and more obscure but a growing movement nonetheless. It operates on the same principles of sharing explicitly documented designs and encouraging interoperability of parts. Developers can buy cheap, generic components, build robust devices and publish schematics and firmware code.

All these ingredients (cheapness, robustness, extensibility) make a potent mix for the hardware industry. Samsung already makes use of open source software (Android). It’s a matter of time before open hardware reaches critical mass and brutally disrupts the way we manufacture, use and distribute devices.

The world may marvel at Apple’s $633b market cap, but brilliant mobile technology is only now leaving the infant stages.

Classical Cat, Quantum Mouse

(12:15:11 PM) bradass87: hypothetical question: if you had free reign [sic] over classified networks for long periods of time … say, 8–9 months … and you saw incredible things, awful things … things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do? […]

With the UK threatening to forcibly extricate Wikileaks‘ Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, its plain to see governments get… concerned, if state secrets become public domain.

When it comes to sensitive digital information, the world has relied on encryption for keeping secrets. The dominant encryption scheme is RSA, first made public in 1977. It relies on a hard problem: the fact that there is no known classical way to efficiently factor numbers. In other words, despite knowing how to do it, cracking RSA can take thousands of years with the current technique. However, in 1994, MIT mathematician/physicist Peter Shor showed that a quantum computer could factor numbers in polynomial time (milliseconds instead of millennia).

Lucky for the entities that use RSA to shield their data from prying eyes, there has yet to be a practical, scalable quantum computer and thus their data is safe for the time being.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your side of the fence, it is only a matter of innovation (creativity + effort + time) before quantum computing is scalable and the world’s encrypted info is completely naked. Of course, the twist is that far stronger means of keeping data private have emerged in the quantum research space.

Whether you’re an individual who just wants their online activity to remain anonymous, or an agency with hard intelligence on a pending Martian invasion — don’t be too paranoid, but don’t delude yourself into believing security is forever.

How Does Noospheer Make Money?

Here’s how:



Models & Bottlenecks

The mostly downward direction of $FB since its infamous IPO shows the true colours of global markets. They react mostly to the emotional drive of mass human action based on incomplete data (such as Friday’s false positive on the US July jobs report). Never mind that the service has close to 2 billion eyeballs linked up (October update: over 2 billion eyeballs), Z wears a hoodie!

If the big F wants to shirk its shakiness in front of the suits, it needs a new revenue model. Advertising is so Madison Avenue, not Information Superhighway (no offense; love New York). I’m not saying they should ditch ads, but look for something additional. What that something is is for them to ideate, create and iterate.

The point is: simply divulging a half-original revenue concept on Bloomberg will send every kind of trader – human and bot – into a friendzy. Like?

Levantine Peace Through Data

Though a portion of us live in regions that don’t experience war, there are many others who live in a perpetual state of fear. One such area is the Levant. With the exception of Jordan, the Levant is always experiencing some kind of systemic violence. In Syria, decades of dictatorial rule have resulted in a bloody civil war that’s now spilling into Lebanon and threatening Turkey and Iraq.

The longest and most consistent battle in the region is of course centered in Israel/Palestine. As a result, there are some prominent, as well as lesser known groups devoted to achieving peaceful coexistence. Although a majority desires peace, political leaders in the area are mostly concerned with exacting cyclical, fatalistic revenge. War is what they know too well to let go of.

So, how might we realistically extricate ourselves from this sad reality? In other words, how might those peaceful organizations become more powerful than those warlike ones. If the 2011 Arab Spring (which is now the 2012 Arab Summer) teaches us anything, its that the Internet is an ideal platform for assembling lots of people. Facebook, Twitter and other services are excellent tools for spreading information – but beyond the raw broadcast capabilities they offer, its difficult to organize any sort of complex task. As a result, many people spill into the streets for protest, but very few actively work towards a goal.

Groups (NGOs, charities & foundations, green corps, concerned citizens) need an integrated, open platform that can:

  • Link up resources
    • Other people/organizations with related focus
    • Supplies – raw materials, tools, transport, capital
    • Information – news, academic/scientific papers, raw data, status streams (twitter/fb)
  • Structure operations
    • Who is where doing what, when, why and how?
    • Strategize, store findings, log and schedule activity
  • Scale with complexity – regardless of the amount of people/data in the network, it should remain simple to utilize
  • Withstand attempts at being shut down
  • Remain free and work with existing services through open APIs

The Levant suffers from not only sociopolitical crises, but ecological ones as well – the region is a microcosm of the world at large. As deeply rooted as these challenges are, there is no shortage of visionaries with a plan for how to make things happy and healthy once more. Those people need to unite not just in vision, but action. Then, true peace can much sooner replace our current state. Just ask Marley!

שלום ~ سلام

Why Free/Open Source Software is Better Business

In today’s software-laden world there remain two general release models: open source and proprietary. Open source implies that the code that makes a given piece of software run is available for programmers to read, edit and redistribute. Proprietary implies that such code is hidden. There is a plethora of different open source licenses that developers can release their works under, each dictating what a coder may or may not do with the source code in question.

In the business community there is a widely held conception of open source as a hippy ideology: share the inner workings of our favorite technologies and love will one day reign supreme. While this is true, even the most ruthless corporate execs should take a second look at the protection, recognition, robustness, interoperability and time/resource-efficiency that comes with free software.

  • Protection and recognition because open source licenses provide a copyright (or copyleft) for the work. If code is open, there is no incentive to reverse-engineer/create a copycat version under a different name.
  • Robust because open code is often well tested and improved upon by the community.
  • Interoperability because some open source licenses (such as GNU GPL) forbid linking to non-open software. Open source software also tends to adhere to open standards and APIs.
  • Time/resource-efficient because there’s no need to code the same module twice – if someone’s done the work and released it as open, you can use it.

Of course, the classic problem with open source is that it forces companies to be creative when it comes to making money. Although one can technically charge for open source software, this was more common practice in the olden days when distribution was often done using hard media such as floppies. Now that distribution is so cheap and easy online, open source tends to be free as in “free beer”. So, charging for licenses isn’t practical. Oracle charges $47,500 per processor running its flagship proprietary enterprise database – the company pulled in $35.6b in 2011. It’s currently locked in patent litigation battles with a number of tech giants.

For noospheer, we’re using a combination of licenses: LGPL for the database, API and GUI – FreeBSD for the quantum emulator. The first keeps the code open, but unlike the classic GPL allows for linking to proprietary software. The latter is considered ‘permissive’, and allows the code to be used in any context – even to be re-released as part of a proprietary software package.

Whatever the license, the future is clearly open. Here’s Linus Torvalds of Linux fame talking about startups and the advantages of open source.

What is QC?

Non-physicists often have the mistaken idea that quantum mechanics is hard. Unfortunately, many physicists have done nothing to correct that idea. But in newer textbooks, courses, and survey articles, the truth is starting to come out: if you wish to understand the central ‘paradoxes’ of quantum mechanics, together with almost the entire body of research on quantum information and computing, then you do not need to know anything about wave-particle duality, ultraviolet catastrophes, Planck’s constant, atomic spectra, boson-fermion statistics, or even Schrödinger’s equation.

Aaronson 2004 p.23

‘Quantum computing’ sounds as exotic to physicists and computer scientists as it does to laypeople. The standard definition is that this is a field devoted to applying findings from the physics of quantum mechanics to computing in general. What is quantum mechanics? A mystical and apparently accurate description of the Cosmos that shows everything as ultimately everywhere at once. A lapis philosophorum.

Being fringey, quantum is mysterious. Yet, the mostly established assumption is that QC is an impossible task for a ‘classical’ computer/Turing machine – such as the device you’re reading this with. It requires intelligent management of exponentially complex resources. In other words, good old fashioned software is not capable of instructing a computer to carry out QC efficiently.

Thus classical implementation of QC is impractical and in order to overcome the problems, research facilities have started building exotic processors. This new class of hardware represents the beginnings of a fresh generation of technology. As it becomes scalable, we are left with the question: what will we do with all the obsolete classical hardware (laptops, desktops, servers, phones, satellites… ) we’ll have lying around?

Noospheer is engaged in the research/application of QC to permissive-license software which can run on any computer and faithfully reproduce live quantum systems — we’re attempting to successfully defy the assumption. This with goals of improving database search speeds, privacy and energy efficiency.

We’ll publish when ready for all the hackers.