Scientists are working to make quantum computing a reality

Digital computers have served us faithfully for decades, but as technology progresses we find that we’re being presented with newer, more complex problems that digital computers simply can’t solve. This is why scientists are working on making computer that can learn and adapt, quantum computing, a reality.

For six or seven decades, computers have been based on processing electronic 1s and 0s. Now, computer scientists are breaking out of that paradigm in strange new directions, as they seek new ways to tackle problems that digital computers can’t easily solve. One approach is quantum computing, in which the computer takes advantage of the ambiguous, “quantum” states of matter. After years of being mostly hypothetical quantum computing is edging into the real world: One startup, D-Wave, is building quantum computers that, it hopes, can determine a variety of possible solutions simultaneously and save energy by speeding up the computing process by many orders of magnitude. That could be useful for cryptography, among other applications.

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