Monday, 16 November 2009

The world's first universal programmable quantum computer has been put through its paces.

But the test program revealed significant hurdles that must be overcome before the device is ready for real work.

Earlier in the year, a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, USA, built a quantum computer capable of processing two quantum bits, or qubits.

Qubits store more information than the simple "on" or "off" bits of conventional computing, which means that a quantum computer outperform conventional computers in tasks such as cryptanalysis.

As in a classical computer, a series of logic gates processes the information – although here the gates are quantum logic, or qubit, gates. For example, a simple single-qubit gate would change a 'one' to a 'zero' and vice versa.

But unlike the physical logic gates of a classical computer, the quantum logic gates used in the team's device are each encoded into a laser pulse.
So what does all this mean?
The size of pin a head: more computing-power-per-nanosecond than all the computing power the world has received until now. That means watches, phones and other such devices with super-ultra-computing power for pennies within a decade.
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