The core advantage of quantum computing -- the ability to compute for many possible outcomes at the same time and therefore crunch data much more quickly than classical computers -- also creates a problem for data security. Once the first high-powered quantum computers are functioning, they'll be able to quickly saw through many of our most common data encryption algorithms. But as it turns out, an obscure encryption code created in 1978 is resistant to all known methods of quantum attack.
By Alessandra CalderinPosted 07.16.2010 at 10:07 am 8 Comments
This maze of electrodes, known as a surface-electrode ion trap, brings us closer to building quantum computers—that is, computers that could manipulate the quantum-mechanical states of atoms to process data millions of times as fast as today's most powerful supercomputers do.
Miniaturization has been no small force driving computer technology forward over the past five decades, and a group of Australian researchers has proved just how small they think they can go. Using just seven atoms, scientists at the University of New South Wales working with researchers at the U. of Wisconsin have carefully constructed a quantum dot transistor, the smallest deliberately built electronic device in the world.
A demo of a quantum calculation carried out by Japanese researchers has yielded some pretty mind-blowing results: a single molecule can perform a complex calculation thousands of times faster than a conventional computer.
A proof-of-principle test run of a discrete Fourier transform -- a common calculation using spectral analysis and data compression, among other things -- performed with a single iodine molecule transpired very well, putting all the molecules in your PC to shame.
A large Cold War supply of helium-3 has begun to rapidly run out, due to heavy demand from U.S. scientists who need the gas for neutron detectors and cryogenic experiments. Almost 60,000 liters of helium-3 were used in 2007 and 2008, compared to just 10,000 liters used annually about 10 years ago. A House subcommittee has been convened to search for a solution this week, New Scientist reports.
By Clay Dillow and Denise NgoPosted 03.23.2010 at 1:25 pm 2 Comments
Billed as "a unique collaboration between science and design," IMPACT! – an exhibition that recently wrapped at the Royal College of Art in Kensington, UK – explored the many ways physical sciences and engineering overlap to leave their marks on our ecnomies, our policies, and our everyday lives.
When we think of quantum mechanics, we often think of the very small and the very theoretical. Take Schrodinger's Cat for instance; it's an interesting thought exercise but not an experiment one would want to actually execute in his or her apartment. But a researcher at UC Santa Barbara has brought quantum systems down from the chalkboard and into plain sight, creating the first mechanical device large enough to be observed with the naked eye that behaves as a true quantum system, bridging the divide between the macro world of mechanical systems and the micro domain of quantum physics.
Light harvesting complexes within algae can take advantage of quantum mechanics
University of Toronto/Elisabetta Collini et al
Scientists still struggle to understand and harness the spooky physics of quantum mechanics, but nature may have a head start on us humans. Tiny marine algae apparently use the mysterious phenomenon called superposition -- where a particle can be in two places at the same time -- to move around solar energy they harvest through the process of photosynthesis.
Quantum computing has long dangled the possibility of superfast, super-efficient processing, and now search giant Google has jumped on board that future. New Scientist reports that Google has spent the past three years developing a quantum algorithm that can automatically recognize and sort objects from still images or video.