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New Research in Quantum Computing

Author : Ayesha Ahmed, Posts:4

Ayesha Ahmed is a guest author at


Ever wondered a powerful computer that can decrypt in a few seconds an encoded message that it would take a regular computer billions of centuries to crack? Where programming code, as small as 2 or 4 lines could help you search a country’s Database? And so much so that according to, American computer engineer Howard Akin “just six electronic digital computers would satisfy the computing needs of the United States” (errant predictions made back in 1974). True, talking about the present science fiction and future computer “Quantum computers”.

For those, who are not very familiar with Quantum Computers, I have attempted to summarize the tale in few lines, after surfing several websites.

What is Quantum Computer? A Brief Round Up

The computer industry has developed at a tremendous pace for decades however it’s interesting to note that all the development has followed the same set of essential principles. Quantum computers are different. Though the concept dates back to mid 17s the computers are “in fancy yet”. The Quantum Computers, as the name indicates work on the principles of “Quantum mechanics”. The fundamental rotation of electrons or spin is a promising property that can be used to carry information. This can extend largely the range of operations that a quantum computer can perform that is beyond the scope of a classical computer.

How are they different?

In a lay man’s term, quantum computer works with qubits, instead of bits, the processing states can be states 0 or 1, analogous to the classical, but which can also be in states intermediate between 0 and 1(called the superposition states) allowing a single qubit to store much more information than an ordinary classical bit.

The existence of superposition or intermediate states also expands the possible range of quantum logic gates and thereby increasing the information processing power of a Quantum Computer. Nevertheless at any instant, the state of the Quantum computer is undeterminable, unlike the classical computer in which the state of every bit can be clearly read out. Pertaining to this fact, algorithm designing is an intricate task.

An interesting quantum mechanical Fun Fact significant for quantum computing is that two or more qubits can be linked. Any affect on one of the qubit will produce a reflection affect on the coupled qubit. Researchers have shown that integer factorization & Quantum Mechanical problems must be computationally feasible with these computers in contrast to classical computers. In late 2007, D Wave Systems introduced a device claiming it to be “a big step toward the age of quantum computing”.
(The potential of the Quantum Computers has been discussed in detail at the Wikipedia, I read it all and it sounds interesting to me!)

So what’s the New?

In the “Natural Physics” the researchers have published there report saying that they have succeeded in aligning electron spin, bringing it to a controlled "waver" and reading it out. By controlled waver we mean setting the axis so as it tips to virtually any desired angle, which is one of the various possibilities that can be used to carry information. The electron spin can also be realigned as required at any time using optical pulses.

This is the first step toward addressing these “quantum bits”, that will form an integral part of data transfer systems and processors in the future computers. Relatively easily measurements were performed on "quantum dots". (As it is impossible to perform measurements for individual electrons, about one million electrons are confined in quantum dots and totaling individual effects).

Contrary to the preconceptions, it has been found that all associated electron spins exhibit accurately the same behavior, and the microscopic effects can therefore be measured very easily. As previously thought that to keep electrons permanently in a module complex high vacuum equipment and light occlusion on all sides is required. The researchers have experimentally refuted the idea. According to the researchers extremely high vacuum is required only once during production of the quantum dot; after that the semiconductor system is sealed having a long service life and providing reliability as all transistors and memory today.

I will conclude on the remarks by Steve Jurvetson(an AI & Nanotech specialist):
“Quantum computers have the potential to solve problems that would take a classical computer longer than the age of the universe.”

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