Quantum computing: Is it possible, and should you care?
By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News 13th April 2012. Find Full Article Here:-
What is a quantum computer and when can I have one? It makes use of all that “spooky” quantum stuff and vastly increases computing power, right? And they’ll be under every desk when scientists finally tame the spooky stuff, right? And computing will undergo a revolution no less profound than the one that brought us the microchip, right?
Well, sort of.
That is broadly what has been said about quantum computers up to now, but it’s probably best to pause here and be clear about what is, at this stage, most likely to come.
First things first, though: just what do they do? Many media outlets have dived into the academic literature sporadically to shed some light on the effort.
BBC News has reported that quantum computers “exploit the counterintuitive fact that photons or trapped atoms can exist in multiple states or ‘superpositions’ at the same time“, and “quantum computing’s one trick is to perform calculations on all superposition states at once” – plus, other quantum weirdness means the whole business “can then be done ‘in the cloud’ completely securely“.
This week has seen two more advances in the field. In one, a team reporting in Nature describes the first fully quantum network, in which “qubits” – quantum bits, the information currency of quantum computers – were faithfully shuttled between two laboratories.
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Quantum computers are ever closer to becoming a reality, and when they arrive they will revolutionise computing power.