Friday, 30 November 2007

A quantum computer breakthrough and dark matter stars

Two research groups have independently managed to experimentally solve a mathematical problem with light-based quantum computers. The simultaneous achievements appear to be the first experimental demonstrations of true (though rudimentary) quantum mechanical computations. Both groups manipulated quantum mechanically entangled photons to calculate the prime factors of the number 15.

Although the physicists could have gotten the answer to the problem much more easily by querying an average elementary school child, the method both groups used involved a quantum mechanical approach commonly known as Shor's algorithm. Previous theoretical work has shown that the algorithm could potentially crack cryptographic codes that are practically unbreakable with non-quantum mechanical (classical) computers.

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