quantum computing - Computer Definition
A future technology for designing computers based on quantum mechanics, the science of atomic structure and function. It uses the "qubit," or quantum bit, which can hold an infinite number of values. In 1999, the feasibility of such a computer was demonstrated by a collaboration of scientists at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University, which used a technique similar to MRI scans in hospitals. The computation that was accomplished was an ingenious search algorithm devised by Lov K. Grover of Bell Laboratories. Exploit the Atom The concept is that the atoms can be made to perform higher level gating functions rather than just be used to store 0s and 1s. It is believed that such a device can handle multiple operations simultaneously and can factor large numbers 10,000 times faster than today's computers. In late 2001, researchers at IBM computed the factors of the number 15 using quantum techniques. Although there are gigantic hurdles to overcome, scientists believe this will be feasible some time in the future. If quantum computing were to come about, the world of cryptography would undergo a dramatic change. In a short amount of time, such a device could be used to find the secret keys to all encryption algorithms. See cryptography.