Saturday, September 20, 2008

A small step for man, a quantum leap for mankind

From bit to qubit, from classical to quantum physics- this is the new focus in the world of computing. Quantum computing is the newest idea in the field of computation, in which the information is stored using quantum bits. The first step to make this path breaking technology to work is to compress the size of the microprocessor chips to the size of the atom. And this is exactly what researchers at Duke have attempted to do over the past few years. It was a team led by the Physics professor Albert Chang, which was successful in forming links between quantum dots- the building blocks of quantum computers.

Presently, researchers from Duke, MIT, and Georgia Tech are collaborating to design a working quantum data processor. The future implications of quantum computing are unimaginable.

Jungsang Kim, Nortel Networks assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, predicts that "future quantum computers could easily crack cryptosystems widely used for secure communication today – whether to bank accounts or military installations – in the blink of an eye."

Since the basis for quantum computers will be to manage and harness the extraordinarily fast events that take place on the atomic scale, they have the potential to perform calculations that can otherwise take infinite amount of classical computing power. The advent of quantum computing would be one more step towards proving the fact that the physical world is governed by much more than what Newton forumulated.

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