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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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By rdeegvainl on 5/8/2007 8:07:24 AM , Rating: 2
Has anyone though about how hard this is gonna be to program for? sure you can use the normal binary values it can give you, but to truly take advantage of it will take a complete paradigm shift in programmers. time will only tell if this technology can get of the ground and if humans are up to the task of writing quality script.

By Zurtex on 5/8/2007 9:51:37 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm, there are already several algorithms out there that take advantage of quantum processors.

Like all other new types of programming (threads, streams etc..) it'll be hard to program at first, then someone will incorporate in to the very structure of the high level language you're using so you won't have to think about it much. Then the new generation of programmers will learn to dabble with it enough to make efficient use of it without being overwhelmed with a deep understanding of it.

By rdeegvainl on 5/8/2007 10:50:17 AM , Rating: 2
hmm, true very true.
Though i think it will get worse though, for programmers i mean. There are many ways of doing the same thing in programming, so much more so in this venue. But relying current algorithms will just make the technology stagnate and not advance as it should. I'm not saying that is what will happen, just saying it to point out the other possibility, that people will create new and better algorithms to program with. The problem i see is just how fast will they come out with them. It being a new technology i see there are too many ways to "optimize" the code in different areas, and with that will come plenty of Patents and IP that will hold the whole thing back, in the early days of programming the world wasn't as anal rententive about the code, but i can see everyone trying to make money in this and only the largest and those with the most money being able to acquire enough code to be able to write anything worth while. I dunno just ranting a little now. I do that from time to time. ;)

By AntDX316 on 5/9/2007 11:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
"While qubits also have the possible values of 0 or 1 value, it can a superposition of both values."

what does this mean? can a superposition

By 91TTZ on 5/8/2007 5:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, they'll just do what they're doing now- using the increased processing power to compensate for increasingly sloppy and bloated code.

I predict they'll be able to make programs for quantum computers, programs that are so sloppily programmed that you'll need a 900 Thz CPU to run Adobe Acrobat.

By Zurtex on 5/9/2007 7:05:36 AM , Rating: 2
People diss Adobe a lot for poor performance. But let me give you a different perspective for a moment. I'm a mathematician and I need specialized languages to write up stuff on a computer, mathematics is very complicated language to emulate on the computer just due to all the different types of notation you can have and very little of it just goes from one line to the next, many different types of subscripts and superscripts.

The main language used is LaTeX, it takes 100s of megabytes to download all the needed fonts, all the needed compiler tools. There are several different formats that you can output it on to, but PDF is a popular one, because despite the sheer complexity of the language it loads all the needed stuff in a relatively quick time and loads across all formats looking exactly the same (Linux is a popular OS among mathematicians).

To me, that's quite an impressive feet, and I think people who just use it to look at basic documents don't really fully appreciate the full technical advantage that Adobe poses over other formats.

By Xietsu on 5/10/2007 2:31:55 AM , Rating: 2
Intriguing and informative insight no doubt Zurtex. People should be moderating you positively -- just posting this so people realize this relevancy. :P

By jtesoro on 5/10/2007 10:11:41 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that it is a good insight. However, I'm puzzled by claims that other pdf readers perform much faster than Adobe's, yet provide the same functionality. Any thoughts on this?

Already done?
By Korvon on 5/8/2007 11:08:18 AM , Rating: 2
There has already been a quantum computer demonstrated almost 3 months ago with a 16 qubit processor and will be ramped up to several hundred plus by the end of the year.,cntnt0...

RE: Already done?
By zsouthboy on 5/8/2007 1:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
Remember that their 16 qubits are not all entangled in the traditional sense.

This *may* be different. (There is apparently tons of confusion about this kind of stuff, myself included)

RE: Already done?
By Dactyl on 5/8/2007 9:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
The first law of quantum mechanics is that all scientists, at all times, are transitioning from one confused state to a different confused state.

RE: Already done?
By Dactyl on 5/8/2007 9:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
and will be ramped up to several hundred plus by the end of the year.

That's the plan. Plans aren't guarantees. We can't know, now, that the techniques DWave is using will work at that scale, and we can't know that it will be completed on time.

I do like your optimism, though.

Small correction
By masher2 (blog) on 5/7/2007 10:55:57 PM , Rating: 5
> "the concept of superposition is used when speaking of string theory and relativistic mechanics..."

Superposition is a principle of quantum mechanics, not relativistic mechanics. Quantum field theory incorporates both.

Also, the definition given for superposition is more correctly that of quantum entanglement.

What happened to D-wave?
By Hare on 5/8/2007 11:04:17 AM , Rating: 3
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.

Hypothetical? Have I missed something? Didn't D-wave already have a quantum computer?

"NASA Debunks Skepticism of D-Wave Quantum Computer"

RE: What happened to D-wave?
By Zurtex on 5/9/2007 10:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
The issue is that it's not a general purpose quantum computer. It doesn't do everything that people want, just somet things. It, like this, is a stepping stone to a general purpose quantum CPU.

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