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Scientists Start Quest for the Silicon Quantum Computer

Sandia research could link silicon circuits to quantum computers

3 min read

5 December 2007—Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, have begun a three-year effort that may yield the world’s first silicon quantum bit—the key component in future quantum computers. Making a ”qubit” out of this ubiquitous workhorse semiconductor could pave the road to a practical quantum computer by allowing its construction using existing technology and its integration with ordinary computers.

A lot of scientists are understandably excited about quantum computing. Certain problems are intractable for today’s computers. Factoring a 300-digit number, for example, might take your laptop several decades. But a quantum computer could puzzle out the same problem in hours or days, says Malcolm Carroll, the principal investigator on the silicon qubit project.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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