Quantum computing: Faster, slower—or both at once?
June 2, 2013 Editor 0
CHIPMAKERS dislike quantum mechanics. Half a century of Moore’s law means their products have shrunk to the point where they are subject to the famous weirdness of the quantum world. That makes designing them difficult. Happily, those same quantum oddities can be turned into features rather than bugs. For many years researchers have been working on computers that would rely on the strange laws of quantum mechanics to do useful calculations. They would do this by using binary digits which, instead of having a value of either “one” or “zero”, had both at the same time. That might allow them to do some calculations much faster than non-quantum, “classical” computers can manage.Progress has been slow, but steady. And now it may be possible to see how a certain type of quantum computer performs in the real world. On May 15th, at a computing conference in Ischia in Italy, Catherine McGeoch, a computer scientist at Amherst College in Massachusetts, presented a paper describing the performance of a quantum computer manufactured by a Canadian firm called D-Wave.D-Wave has a colourful history. To much fanfare and press attention (including in The Economist…
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Categories: The Economist
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