Hybrid molecule helps quantum computing breakthrough

June 27th, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 27 (IANS) Researchers have edged closer to building quantum computers by creating a new hybrid molecule that can be manipulated in its quantum state. “This development may not bring us a quantum computer 10 years faster, but our dreams about these machines are now more realistic,” said Gerhard Klimeck, professor of computer engineering at Purdue University in Indiana, US, who led the project.

Quantum computers would harness the strange behaviours of quantum mechanics to carry information using quantum bits or qubits and process vastly greater information.

The way computers work hasn’t changed since they were room-sized giants 50 years ago. They still use binary bits of information, 1s and 0s, to store and process information.

If a traditional computer were given the task of looking up a person’s phone number, it would examine each name until it found the right number. Computers can do this much faster than people, but the task is still sequential. Conversely, a quantum computer could look up all names in the phone directory simultaneously.

Quantum computers could also take advantage of the bizarre behaviours of quantum mechanics - some of which are hard to fathom. For example, two quantum computers could, in concept, communicate instantaneously across light years.

Albert Einstein wrote to Erwin Schr

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