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What, exactly, IS a Quantum Computer?

Quantum computers are the next evolution of computing power, attaining higher speeds of functionality than any silicon-based computer ever possibly could.  Using binary code in long sequences, normal computers are told what to do in linear sequences that involve either 1s, 0s or blank spots.  However, the stream of data which a quantum computer uses as well as the the reader/writer tool reside in a quantum state, allowing for the superposition of certain points.  This means that these certain points can simultaneously be 1, 0 or anything in between, called qubits.  The use of qubits as a carrier for data allows quantum computers to perform many calculations at once, increasing its processing speed exponentially.  The many different forms of information involves within quantum computers can be summed up by the statement, “Qubits represent atoms, ions, photons and electrons and their respective control devices that are working together to act as computer memory and a processor.”  This duality is what leads quantum computers to be able to run so many calculations at once, which scientists theorize could at some point reach millions per second.  However, because of the tricky nature of these particles, measurements of them directly would change them.  To bypass this, scientists are using the entanglement of atoms, which is the theory that states that one atom will take on the properties of another when pushed together.  It is then that they are measured, so as to give a better understanding of the properties of the particles under less outside influence.



Although personal quantum computers are a distant thought right now, progress is still being made upon their design every year.  As more qubits of data are added unto the processing power of these quantum computers, we inch ever closer to having more practically applicable versions of these devices, that will someday revolutionize the speed at which calculations are done.


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This entry was posted on October 9, 2013 by .
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