Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Quantum invades your computer......

Your mobile phone - even if it's like mine and dies horribly when attempting tricky tasks like a four word text message, or calling someone - has more computing power than all of the Apollo missions put together.

And computer technology keeps getting faster - in fact it doubles in power every year and a half (we geeks call this Moore's law), a fact that the world has become worryingly dependant on.

OK my phone isn't that old. Although it is a Motorola. 

Why worryingly? Because, eventually, we will run up against physical laws that will stop us cramming more computing power into things. For example: Transistors can only be made so small before they become so badly affected by heat they're useless.

So what do we do?

Do we go computer cold turkey, and learn to think for ourselves again?

Don't be stupid, we'll just have to find some better laws of physics - quantum laws in fact....

If you just went 'um...what?' to all that: A computer 'thinks' in bits - the most basic unit of information. A regular bit has to either be 1 or 0. Quantum bits can do more than regular bits because they can be a 1 and 0 at the same time. So the quantum computer can do more things at once.

Moore or less.