Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is really doubling down on the “Hottest World Leader Ever” title now that President Obama is leaving office, delighting his supporters with a nerdy, spot-on answer to a flippant question about computer science.
During an announcement for a $50 million allocation for the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, as Trudeau was taking questions in front of a giant chalkboard full of mathematical equations, one of the reporters decided to be cute.
“I was going to ask you to explain quantum computing,” the reporter joked, “but when do you expect Canada’s ISIL mission to begin again, and are we not doing anything in the interim while we prepare?”
Like a classic politician, Trudeau decided to dodge the ISIL question — but the way he dodged it is what has the internet squeeing like a bunch of fangirls at a Bieber concert.
“Okay, very simply, normal computers work by…” he began, as the room burst into laughter and applause. “No no no, don’t interrupt me! When you walk out of here, you will know more — well no, some of you will know far less about quantum computing, but most of you…”
He went on to explain in pretty understandable terms how most computers work in binary, 1 or 0, depending on whether there’s power going through a wire or not.
“What quantum states allow for is much more complex information to be encoded into a single bit. A regular computer bit is either a 1 or a 0, on or off. A quantum state can be much more complex than that, because as we know, things can be both particle and wave at the same time, and the uncertainty around quantum states” — he was straight-up showing off at this point — “allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer.”
And the crowd of computer nerds went wild. “Don’t get me going on this or we’ll be here all day, trust me,” Trudeau laughed.