Meditate on This
Laptop designers seem to believe that buyers prize thinness above all other features, and Asus’ new ZenBook 3 delivers the goods
in that category. The machine is shoehorned into a case that is only
11.9 mm (0.47 in) thick, which is accomplished by using an
aerospace-grade aluminum alloy that is said to be 50 percent
stronger than standard materials. This is a little fatter than the HP
Spectre, which slides in at 10. 4 mm (0.409 in), but the ZenBook
wins in the weight category at 910 g ( 32.1 oz) vs. 1100 g ( 38. 8 oz)
— possibly because of the smaller display ( 12. 5 in vs. 13 in).
Behind the Gorilla Glass 4 screen, you can equip it with an Intel
Core i7 processor, 16 GB of 2,133 MHz RAM, and up to as much
as 1 TB of SSD storage. It also comes with a USB Type-C port and a
four-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Included is a full size
backlit keyboard and a glass covered touchpad that incorporates
palm-rejection technology, Smart Gestures, and handwriting
support, plus it has a fingerprint reader to eliminate password
According to Asus, the ZenBook provides up to nine hours of
battery life and recharges to 60 percent capacity in only 49 min.
The maxed-out machine will run you $1,999, but if you scale back
to an i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB drive, you can
squeak in at about half that price. ▲
EVENTS, ADVANCES, AND NEWS
COMPUTERS and NETWORKING
Run a Quantum Computer
If you have ever wanted to learn more about quantum computing, now’s the time. All you have to do is access the IBM Quantum Experience at www.research.ibm.com/quantum, and
you will have access to a cloud-enabled quantum computing platform where you can “run
algorithms and experiments on IBM’s quantum processor, work with the individual quantum
bits (qubits), and explore tutorials and simulations around what might be possible with
The quantum processor — housed at the T.J. Watson Research Center in New York — is
made up of five superconducting quantum bits. This doesn’t sound like much, but IBM plans
on scaling it up to larger systems, leading to the establishment
of a universal quantum computer with a processor having 50
to 100 qubits sometime in the next decade. Eventually, IBM
envisions a machine with more than 100,000 physical qubits.
Even with only 50 qubits, such a device would be superior to
all of today’s TOP500 supercomputers.
It’s a pretty murky concept, but the fundamental principle
is that, unlike a classic bit that represents either a one or a
zero, a qubit can represent a one, a zero, or both at once.
From there, it gets more complicated, but the website offers a
primer on quantum computing that will help you get started.
IBM notes, “By giving users access to the IBM Quantum
Experience, it will help businesses and organizations begin to
understand the technology’s potential, for universities to grow
their teaching programs in quantum computing and related
subjects, and for students to become aware of promising new
career paths.” ▲
September 2016 9
■ An IBM quantum computing scientist uses a tablet
to interact with a quantum computing platform.
■ The Asus ZenBook 3 is less than 0.5 in thick and
weighs only 32.1 oz.