Tuesday, 6 December 2011

89) Crack and Follow

    I yelled at my laptop and banged my fist on the table. Even though the only other two students in the lab at 3am had their headphones on they gave me withering looks. I ignored them and went back to my problem. Everything I tried was coming apart at the seams. I couldn’t tell if I was hungry or full or needed the toilet.
    A chat window popped up from my roommate, that kind of guy that never takes classes that are too difficult, “hey bro you still up? come down to ferocious for some after party!1!!1!!”
    “Yeah, maybe.” I typed back.
    “lots of drunks chicks maybe even your type, lonely loll ;)”
    Drunk? Random walk? Wiener Process? Lectures from the previous year in statistics and fluid dynamics bubbled up into my head.
    I ignored my roommate’s message and loaded up my raw data again. The raw data that the University’s basement quantum computer had politely churned out for me in an instant. Its fifteen million q-bits had been mine for a solid millisecond at the beginning of the semester and I was still trying to work out what the resulting thirty terabyte state meant.
    I had asked the computer to factor a large sequence of huge and possibly prime numbers, but the results that came back looked like the nastiest noise I’d ever seen. I spent twelve weeks trying to make sense of it. My advisor was getting pissed, I was getting pissed, but the numbers didn’t want to do anything sensible.
    Later that afternoon back in my dorm room after I had implemented the new search parameters I took a disco coma nap while the computer churned away.
    A few senseless hours later my terminal dinged, like a snap I woke up and rolled over to its glowing screen.
    I stared slack jawed at the results. It didn’t make any sense, it went against all intuition. I’ll reproduce it here if you don’t believe me, see attached binary for raw data and initial program filters.
    It says, “86% Disc0unt! bUY V16A-RA & LEV7IRA T0DAY!!! One Day Shipping!…”
    You can see the message go on and on for several more lines in the same fashion.
    I’ve pinched myself, but it doesn’t make any difference. I’ve checked and triple checked. I’m considering taking a fail in the class because no one anyone is going to believe me, ever. There’s no way, no way in the world.

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