Researchers believe that quantum computers is the technology of the future

While supercomputers such as the IBM BlueGene/L system are extremely powerful by today's standard, researchers are continuing to look towards the future.  NEC recently said that Japanese scientists are one step closer towards a quantum computer, a still hypothetical device that would make today's supercomputers look like a slight joke.

Researchers from NEC and the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research recently conducted a demonstration in which they used a circuit to control a pair of elemental particles -- the ability to control the particles may help towards the development of quantum computers.

The current generation of electronics traditionally has to rely on the manipulation of binary bits -- which are always read as either 0 or 1 -- to help store information.  On the other hand, quantum computing would allow information to be stored in quantum bits -- or qubits -- which have distinct similarities to binary bits.  While qubits also have the possible values of 0 or 1 value, it can a superposition of both values.

Superposition, when it comes to quantum computing research, is when particles are able to interact with one another even if they appear to be in multiple locations at the same point of time.  Besides quantum computing, the concept of superposition is used when speaking of string theory and relativistic mechanics.

"These results do not change the fact that there are still many difficulties to be resolved," said Yasunobu Nakamura, a NEC research team member.

The Jaw-Shen Tsai-led NEC research team recently published its results and research in the American journal Science.  NEC has supported quantum computing research for more than 10 years.

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