How fast is too fast? According to the laws of physics, the speed of light is a good boundary, as going beyond it opens you up to all sorts of paradoxes and space-time phenomena that are usually the stuff of sci-fi. But a couple of researchers in Austria have come up with a way to compute information faster than the speed of light.
The Goal: Computers millions of times faster. The research into single-molecule transistors, DNA strands, and quantum effects provides tantalizing clues.
By Daniel TynanPosted 05.22.2002 at 6:56 pm 0 Comments
Ike Chuang holds a pencil-thin test tube containing a bright orange solution of a billion billion molecules, the core of each one a combination of five fluorine and two carbon atoms. He slides the test tube into the chamber of a modified nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) machine that looks like an enormous pressure cooker. Inside the machine, the sample is surrounded by radio frequency coils attached to amplifiers and signal generators "like those inside a cellphone, only much larger," Chuang says.