Ternary Computing Might Make its Big Debut with Quantum Computing
April 6, 2008 4:12 PM
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D-Wave's 16 qubit quantum computer is the pride of current quantum computers
A team from Australia suggests that not only will ternary data be helpful in the budding field of quantum computing, but practically necessary
Generations of computer scientists grew up under the notion that ternary computing was just around the corner. Modern computers store information in a binary system, a logical representation of true and false. Ternary computing, on the other hand, stores information as a representation of false, null and true; 0, 1, 2 or -1, 0 and 1.
Computer storage methods going back to punch cards made binary computing methods sensible. When storage moved to magnetic and transistor-based alternatives, the binary system continued to flourish -- and any reason to switch to a ternary system was nonessential with prolific and scalable storage.
But with the advent of quantum computing, ternary computing has a new cause. Universal quantum logic gates, the building blocks of infant quantum computing, require hundreds of gates in order to complete any useful work.
D-Wave's quantum computer
, announced last year, consists of only 16 qubits -- just enough for a controlled NOT gate.
It's an inevitability that quantum computers will continue to scale, even based on current technologies. In the
meantime a team lead by University of Queensland's B. P. Lanyon
proposed a new method to scale quantum computers faster by exploiting the well researched fields of ternary computing.
The modern representation of true or false can be expressed as a bit. The quantum computing equivalent of a bit is dubbed a qubit. Traditional computers that store data in ternary operations are dubbed trits; the quantum equivalent is called a qutrit.
What makes Lanyon's method truly innovative is that by using qutrits for universal quantum gates instead of qubits, researchers can reduce the number gates needed in a computer significantly.
Lanyon proposes that a computer that would traditionally take 50 conventional quantum gates could use as few as 9 gates using the ternary method.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/7/2008 2:11:33 PM
Ternary Computing's Big Debut? Oh, how we continue to fail to learn from our history.
Ternary computing's debut was in the 1958 Setun computer, something a cursory study of Soviet computing history would have revealed, had this article's author bothered to do some basic research.
The only thing 'new' here is using it in quantum computer implementations.
RE: Old Idea
4/9/2008 2:20:46 PM
I think you are being one of those folks very common these days on forums -- finding the need to nit pick or otherwise start arguments over any little detail on a web forum.
Reading the context of the article I did not get the impression they were suggesting Ternary computer is brand new and was never used before - quite the opposite.
the article at one point even mentions the "well researched" fields of ternary computing...logic dictates to me if they stated something as "well researched" obviously that must mean it has already existed.
The only part of your post I agree with is the last line, you are correct (and that's the whole point the article is making) it is the first using ternary computing with quantum computing.
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