"Do you really think we ought to do this? Without asking, I mean?" Alice Jameson said.
Mark Sanders perked up as he always did when she spoke. He was glad she was turned half away from him so he would concentrate on the question and not on her body or face and then blush and become addled as an elf who'd lost his tack hammer right before the Christmas rush. He hated it when he did that but was helplessly unable to keep from it.
Mark thought of the implications. Alice had brought the software package to him only days before the final programming of Peterson's precedent-shattering, one-of-a-kind, fully functional quantum computer. He had spent a full thee days practically without sleep studying it, then had become so excited he forgot about his fixation on her and added as much input to the program as she had brought to begin with. Alice was the junior programmer on the project, but that didn't mean she was the less talented. By no means was that the case. In fact, the code she had written was brilliant, complete with fractal bases, neural network generation, and quantum logic definition. It was a dazzling piece of work.
Now, with another couple of days' input from Mark, it was a conglomeration of contributions and ideas originating from both of them--and had as much earth-shattering potential as the computer itself. The code consisted of millions of lines. Millions of lines.
"If we don't do it now, there's no telling how long it'll be before we can test it. You know darn well if Quanty here works as well as he's supposed to, neither Collins nor Peterson are ever going to let us change anything about him. Not for a long time anyway." He dared to look directly into Alice's beautiful eyes.
"Right." She met his gaze squarely. "Shall we?"
Mark took a deep breath, thinking of what might happen if they uploaded their program replete with induced learning algorithms. It might turn the quantum computer into an even more powerful tool than the engineers had imagined. On the other hand it might drive it crazy, too. Well, what the hell, we can always uninstall it if it doesn't work right, he thought. Maybe. Probably. He nodded, and then brightened as Alice smiled at him. They turned to their workstation and began the uploading.
The quantum computer was the culmination of years of work, but only during the last month had Mark and Alice been thrown together as the final programmers, interfacing directly with the computer they had affectionately named "Quant" or more often "Quanty." Uploading a program of their own into it was a last-minute, totally unplanned event, but one that was well nigh irresistible. Neither had any idea of the ultimate consequences of their actions. They simply thought it would greatly improve Quanty's capabilities and performance.
If pushed, they might have confessed how anxious they were to see if their new ideas worked as they hoped. One thing for sure was that if the program was successful, Quanty might know who created it, but no one else would. There was self-protection coding in the program that was original with them, one that would keep some hacker or tinkering busybody in management from hurting it. Also a self-protection and induced learning protocol program based on a fractal-based neural network generator. All in all they were pleased with what they had done. But of course as they both knew, being very well grounded in scientific methodology, the proof was in the pudding. And the code wouldn't mean a damned thing if the hardware didn't work right.
The hardware consisted of a Loss-DiVincenzo spin-qubit quantum computer design. Of course, Peterson's physicists and computer scientists had put their own twists on it. The system used an array of more than a million solid-state core processors that had tens of thousands of double-quantum dots in each. Each of the dots confined an individual electron, forcing it into a spin half-up or a spin half-down. The electron pairs would make up the solid-state qubits. The trick was keeping the electrons completely shielded from the outside world so that nothing caused the quantum entanglement between them and other qubits from mixing with unwanted outside influences and therefore becoming incoherent with each other. If that happened the qubit core would just be a bunch of silicon chips with an electric charge on them that meant nothing. The electrons had to be quantum connected with each other in the right way. A big portion of the hardware was the large electromagnetic field generator used to create a plasma shield around the core qubit processors to protect them from outside influence. And then there was the interface from the outside world through the plasma sheath into the core. Now that damned thing was complicated.
And then there was the code. The code had to drive the core right, and that was where the two oddball ace programmers Mark and Alice had come into play. And, of course, them being the oddball programmers they were, they had a few ideas of their own that they wanted added to the code. Even though the owners of the system hadn't authorized it, and their code didn't go through the standard hoops of the spiral development systems engineering management plan, the code was so complex they had decided that there was no way that the fat managers could ever figure it out.
Alice winked at Mark, knowing he would blush but not caring, and then she clicked the install icon. They were committed. Their code was being installed, and who knew what would happen once the qubits got aligned up. The monitor flashed code and prompts by the run window at a blinding pace...?