One More Step Towards Quantum Computer
A breakthrough by scientists at the prestigious Yale University could pave the way for computer manufacturers to manipulate microwave signals in order to create the world's first quantum computer at some point in the future. Upon its invention, the incredibly powerful tool would revolutionize the processing of information within computers both corporate and domestic, speeding up computing in general and changing the face of computer memory entirely.
The computers of today store information as 'bits'; with each bit containing either a '1' or a '0'. Quantum computers are built on entirely different principles; they store information as 'qubits', which can store a '1', a '0', or any combination of '1' and '0' simultaneously. One 'qubit' is able to hold 20% '1' and 80% '0', for example. A quantum computer which consisted entirely of qubits with this capacity could carry out incredibly complicated calculations and tasks that would be far beyond the realms of capability for even the most advanced computers on the planet today.
The breakthrough by Yale researchers is primarily concerned with photons, the very smallest unit of microwave signals; these serve as the quantum computer's memory. To compare it with a regular computer, the photons would be the equivalent of the RAM memory. They can carry quantum information for a very long time once they have been encoded, as the relatively low level of interaction with substances around them (air, wires and cables) means the information will not be absorbed and lost. Previously, this was one of the major hurdles that those researching quantum computing had to overcome; they needed to create photons which had the ability to store information reliably without ending up altering or deleting it.
According to a paper, researchers at Yale have created an artificial medium which causes photons to repel other photos. This allows for efficient coding of quantum information without tricky control techniques that would only be found in laboratories. Essentially, the team have found a way to temporarily make photons 'writeable', before switching them back to a stable state, thus enabling future scientists to make a sort of 'quantum RAM' from these photons.
Further developments can be taken and improved upon as a result of this groundbreaking study, allowing for additional advancement towards the world's first quantum computer in the future. If scientists can discover a way to make quantum memory reliable and viable for manufacture, it will transform the world of Mac and PC memory that we know forever.
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