From the University of New South Wales (UNSW): engineers have been able to use the nucleus of an atom as the basis for a quantum bit (or qubit) the fundamental unit of quantum computing.
Why is this important?
- Quantum computing means a potentially massive (like, exponentiallymassive) increase in computing speed and capacity.
- This UNSW experiment was done in fairly normal conditions, with solid-state devices and normal silicon circuitry. Qubits with similar accuracy in the past have required very specialised conditions: atoms in a vacuum suspended in a magnetic field, for instance.
So the real breakthrough here is the practicality by which they were able to achieve their quantum computing result. It’s one step closer to being able to deliver quantum computing on a practical scale. Remember, the regular computers we’re familiar with used to weigh many tons and fill entire rooms. Quantum computing will likely go through a similar process.
You can read the media release or get even more background info about quantum computing from the UNSW.
Cloud computing is using (possibly renting) computing power elsewhere via the internet.
Quantum computing is using the seemingly-odd behaviour of quantum mechanics to do computations in parallel, thereby multiplying computing speeds.
Some dudes have written a paper about research they’re doing into whether quantum computers could do calculations in the cloud securely.
That is pretty seriously cool.
From breaking science news site Eurekalert:
A team led by Yale University researchers has created the first rudimentary solid-state quantum processor, taking another step toward the ultimate dream of building a quantum computer.
They also used the two-qubit superconducting chip to successfully run elementary algorithms, such as a simple search, demonstrating quantum information processing with a solid-state device for the first time. Their findings will appear in Nature‘s advanced online publication June 28.
“…This is the first time they’ve been possible in an all-electronic device that looks and feels much more like a regular microprocessor.”
The key that made the two-qubit processor possible was getting the qubits to switch “on” and “off” abruptly, so that they exchanged information quickly and only when the researchers wanted them to.
The article is a good read. Get your head around their example of how quantum computation might be different from the kind of computation we’re used to:
Imagine having four phone numbers, including one for a friend, but not knowing which number belonged to that friend. You would typically have to try two to three numbers before you dialed the right one. A quantum processor, on the other hand, can find the right number in only one try.
From the BBC recently:
Edinburgh and Manchester University researchers have created a molecular device which could act as a building block for super-fast computers.
Hi! I’m not really here right now. I’m on vacation in Australia. Through the magic of scheduled blogging, I’ve set a little something I find interesting to be posted each day I’m gone.