Today’s science news is equal in awesomeness to airbrushing a topless Amazonian warrior princess fighting a dragon on your van. “That’s crazy talk!” you’ll surely say. But behold: Australian and American physicists have laid the groundwork for quantum computing by creating a transistor from a single atom embedded in silicon crystal.
In contrast to conventional computers that are based on transistors with distinct “on” and “off” or “1” and “0” states, quantum computers are built from devices called qubits that exploit the quirky properties of quantum mechanics. Unlike a transistor, a qubit can represent a multiplicity of values simultaneously.
The incredibly powerful processor will be able to factor huge numbers and model complex molecular structures with relative alacrity; basically, it will change the entire infrastructure of computing.
Apparently, scientists have been able to place a transistor since 2002, but this new transistor is by far the most precise attempt, and moreover it allows for read/write capability.
While this is extremely exciting news, there are still significant hurtles in place. The transistors currently operate at very low temperatures, so unless you’re a Batman villain it’s unlikely you’ll have the necessary equipment to maintain a home model. Also, the current equipment used to design the transistor is not a viable manufacturing tool. But despite those obstacles, some predict we could be looking at viable quantum computers within two decades.
In other words, hold out for 20 years and you’ll be rewarded with quantum pornography. If that doesn’t make you want to quit smoking, I don’t know what will!