A consortium of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado, has showcased the world’s first "universal" programmable quantum computer, which is capable of running any program enabled under the helms of quantum mechanics.
According to a report published in the "New Scientist", the newly invented machine still has some significant problems to be resolved, but it has the capability to process quantum mechanical numbers, termed as “qubits”.
While in traditional computing data is stored either in "1" or "0", quantum computing reportedly allows storage in "1" or "0" or in both, and henceforth it presents the potential to store a lot more data than conventional computing devices.
The machine stores binary data, i.e. 1s and 0s, in a couple of beryllium ions, which are kept in an electromagnetic trap and manipulated using ultraviolet lasers. In addition, the trap further contains two magnesium ions to keep the beryllium ions cool.
The inventors of the machine have touted it as a step forward on previous and cruder form of quantum kit because of its programmable nature.
Speaking about the breakthrough in the quantum computing domains, David Hanneke, who spearheaded the consortium said: "It's a step toward the big goal of doing calculations with lots and lots of qubits. The idea is you'd have lots of these processors, and you'd link them together".
It is still very early days for Quantum Computing but once the issues are ironed out, expect the differences in performance to be mind boggling. QC has the potential of making humans obsolete as it would bring artificial intelligence on par with that of humans.