Negotiating a Quantum Computation Network: Mechanics, Machines, Mindsets

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Creator: 

Noon, Derek

Date: 

2017

Abstract: 

This dissertation describes the origins, development, and distribution of quantum computing from a socio-technical perspective. It depicts quantum computing as a result of the negotiations of heterogeneous actors using the concepts of ANT and socio-technical analyses of computing and infrastructure more generally. It draws on two years of participant observation and interviews with the hardware and software companies that developed, sold, and distributed both machines and a mindset for a new approach to computing: adiabatic quantum computation (AQC). It illustrates how a novel form of computation and software writing was developed by challenging and recoding the usual distinctions between digital and analogue computing, and discusses how the myriad controversies and failures attending quantum computing were resolved provisionally through a series of human and non-human negotiations. These negotiations disrupted, scrambled, and reconstituted what we usually understand as hardware, software, and mindset, and permitted a ‘disruptive’ technology to gain common acceptance in several high profile scientific, governmental, and financial institutions. It is the relationalities established across these diverse processes that constitute quantum computing, and consequences of this account of computation are considered in the context of digital media theory, industrial histories of computing, and socio-technical theories of technological innovation.

Subject: 

Mass Communications
Sociology

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Doctor of Philosophy: 
Ph.D.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Doctoral

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Communication

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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