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.
Using quantum interference – the vibrations of the atoms themselves – the team was able to run the complete discrete Fourier transform extremely quickly by encoding the inputs into an optically tailored vibrational wave packet which is then run through an excited iodine molecule whose atomic elements are oscillating at known intervals and picked up by a receiver on the other side. The entire process takes just a few tens of femtoseconds (that's a quadrillionth of a second). So we're not just talking faster data flow or processing here; these are speeds that are physically impossible on any kind of conventional electronic device.
But don't trade in your conventional computing power just yet. Like other quantum information platforms, molecular computing is in its infancy; we understand some of its mechanisms, but it's difficult to execute and there are still a lot of unknowns. Further, researchers aren't quite sure how they could integrate such technology into something that works the way we're used to our computers working.
Still, the very fact that researchers were able to pull off a calculation at such speeds shows just how big of an impact molecular calculations could have on the science of computing.
My laptop was too busy sulking to load the article...Darn it...
can we also take the vibration of the molecule and turn it into electricity?
Years ago, they did FFTs with an optical system. Used some kind of optical filter, IIRC. This sounds quite similar. Don't know if that qualifies as 'computing'.
Oh, the optical system was also faster then snot.
Could the Japanese harness my cell phone vibrations to do the same thing?
"can we also take the vibration of the molecule and turn it into electricity?"
No, you can't decrease entropy in a closed system and therefor you can't produce work from thermal energy unless there is a temperature difference.
I can see why the iodine molecule was excited. This is indeed pretty exciting. :)
Still, it will be more exciting if more algorithms could be shown to work this way.
This is not a calculation. This is simply exploiting the fact that harmonic oscillators will naturally transform a wavepacket into it's Fourier Transform periodically. Sort of like a bucket is a natural accumulator--you add one drop of water and another drop of water and you magically get two drops of water in the bucket. Another less accurate but maybe more familiar example is that one's ear takes the sound input it gets and through the structure of the cochlea transforms it into a Fourier Transform. Ford2go's observation of Fourier optics is exactly the same type of natural physical effect. This is not strictly programming at all since you have no control over altering the program (what is being calculated). You only have control over the input. Furthermore, while this is a quantum effect, the use of the word quantum computing is misleading since this feat is not at all associated with the usual concerns of quantum computing which is programmable albeit not very intuitively.
Sci Fi writing has a completely new horizon...They'll be able to interface dna and molecular algorithms that calculate so fast you can go back in time...when they find the molecular time stamp and set the molecular clocks back...Wait maybe thats 2012 doomsday...whose bright idea was this?
"the team was able to run the complete discrete Fourier transform extremely quickly by encoding the inputs into an optically tailored vibrational wave packet which is then run through an excited iodine molecule whose atomic elements are oscillating at known intervals and picked up by a receiver on the other side."
I wonder if anyone else had to read this sentence 5 times before understanding it...
im not a scientist, im still trying to learn a lot of what everyone else reading this seems to already know...so lavahothand..no matter how many times ive read it i still dotn understand it ..how dumb am i