Quantum Leap For Quantum Computing

Lead teams converge around ion chips

3 min read

A quantum computer would surpass even today's supercomputers by being able to crack encryption schemes or simulate quantum physics in far less time. The key to its power is the quantum bit, or qubit, which is not limited to representing 0 or 1. Qubits exist in fuzzy states that are both 0 and 1, and can be combined to represent many numbers at once [see photo, " "]. As a result, a quantum computer would be like a massively parallel computer array, whose power grows exponentially with each additional qubit.

The most promising technology for constructing an ultrapowerful quantum computer is the ion trap, a nest of electrodes that holds ions in midair. If a quantum computer is ever to be scaled up and manufactured, however, ion traps must be built from semiconductors, the way computer chips are. Researchers have now built the first such ion-trap chips. Linking multiple chips may allow research groups to manipulate much larger numbers of ions and demonstrate rudimentary components of a quantum computer over the next few years.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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