Quantum Computing: Atomic Clocks Make for Longer-Lasting Qubits

Cesium atoms and laser traps offer a more robust type of quantum computer

4 min read
Image: Weiss Laboratory/Penn State
Bright Qubits: Lasers hold cesium atoms in place in a 5-by-5 grid for a neutral-atom quantum-computer prototype built at Penn State. The atoms’ quantum states can be used to store information.
Image: Weiss Laboratory/Penn State

A decade ago, quantum computing was still something of a parlor game. Quantum-computer advocates could make bold claims about one promising technology or another because no one had yet figured out how to string together more than a handful of quantum bits (qubits).

Times have changed. IBM now has a 50-qubit machine, Intel is at 49 qubits, and Google has developed a 72-qubit device. And in September, Pennsylvania State University researchers announced they’d built the framework for a 125-qubit compute engine.

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The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Vertical
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton
Pink

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

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