Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Machine Starts, by Greg Bear

Published in Future Visions:Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, edited by Elizabeth Bear, Melchior Media, November 2015

Bose is a member of a team working on a quantum computer, and so far, they haven't had the breakthrough they need. Now the team leader, Tiklin, has come up with a new idea that may be the breakthrough they need. Despite misgivings from several members of the group, they go ahead with it.

Or rather, Tiklen and the chief programmer, Dieter, had already gone ahead with it three weeks earlier. And they had given the computer, called 8 Ball, several major mathematical problems to work on.

It's successful. It's the major breakthrough they need, and surely they are headed for Nobel Prizes.

But strange things have started to happen. The soda machines often being empty could be maintenance staff being lazy. That's not a likely explanation for the note Bose finds, apparently from himself, instructing him, "Don't try to find me."

As more and more of the team encounter anomalies, and start to compare notes, they start to realize that something very strange and alarming is happening--and it's not a fixable problem. It's an integral part of how quantum computing works.

Another good story from this collection.

This book was available free from Amazon when I downloaded it.