The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Hacking in the Streets

They’ll be coding, networking, and, most likely, starting a few companies in the streets of Palo Alto this month.

2 min read

Super Happy Block Party from Super Happy Block Party on Vimeo.

The stereotypical hacker is a loner, tapping on his (most definitely his) keyboard late into the night, a glowing screen casting light onto junk food and empty soda cans. But given the number of hacker events, meeting places, and clubs here in Silicon Valley, the social life of a typical hacker today is jumping. The HomeBrew Computer Club started the hacker meetup trend in 1975, and it's been expanding ever since. These days, to name just a few events and organizations, there’s Hacker DojoHackers and FoundersCloudstock, the Startup Veterans Hackathon, and the classic, invite-only Hacker’s Conference that dates back to 1984; along with corporate events like Facebook’s Hackathons. The list seems endless—a Silicon Valley hacker, it seems, doesn’t ever have to hack alone.

And now, the hackers of Palo Alto are having their first (as far as I can tell) block party. Makes complete sense—block parties are what people around town hold to build community—get a permit from the city to close off a street or two, pull a couple of garbage cans out to block access to the road, and bring out the food and drinks. The name of the event is more than a little odd: Super Happy Block Party. But I love the idea, as well as the promotional trailer that tapped the Palo Alto Mayor as leading man (above). The event will have food, music, and, like every good block party, an activity for kids—in this case, learning to code.

So on March 31st, on a downtown section of High Street, notable for its extensive parking and cheap sushi, the hackers are going to pull out their computers and tablets and eat and drink and, of course, code, from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. And though I’m not so sure about the singin’ and swayin’, I’m sure there will be iPods playin’ when they’re hackin’ in the streets.

Follow me on Twitter @TeklaPerry

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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