Conventional computers work by symbolizing data as a series of ones and zeros – binary digits known as bits. The resulting binary code is driven through transistors, switches that can be turned on or turned on to symbolize a one or a zero.
Quantum computers, however, use a physical phenomenon known as “superposition,” where objects of infinitesimal size like electrons or atoms can exist in two or more places at the same time, or rotate in opposite directions at the same time.
This means that computers created with superimposed processors can use quantum bits – called qubits – that can exist in the on and off states simultaneously.
In this way, these quantum computers can calculate each combination of on and off at the same time. Thiswould make them much faster than the current data processors when solving certain complex problems of mathematical calculations.
Quantum computing research is rapidly gaining ground in the military, intelligence and university research laboratories around the globe. Among others are giants such as AT & T, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Lucent, and Microsoft.
The alternative to progress does not stop is to create molecular-scale storage devices, new calculation methods, molecular switches and stretched carbon tube cables. In short, what is known as quantum computers?
The first step toward these devices came in late August 2001, when IBM researchers created a circuit capable of performing simple logic calculations using a self-assembled carbon nanotube.
At present, Hewlett-Packard is the closest to creating a technology capable of replacing the current processors. The company promises that there will be only 32-nanometer chips on the market within 8 years.
Other companies like IBM or Intel follow closely. Specifically, within the framework of the First International Nanotechnology Conference last June, Intel first publicly unveiled its plans for the development of chips smaller than 10 nanometers, combining silicon with other technologies that are still in their research.
As important as the processing speed is the storage capacity. This is well known by Nantero, a nanotechnology company working on the development of NRAM.
It is a non-volatile random-access memory chip based on nanotubes. Its creators say it could replace the current SRAM, DRAM and flash memory, becoming the universal memory for mobile phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, and PDAs.
Almost Invisible Computers
Nanotechnology will be a major leap in the reduction of components, and there are advances. But many of these advances are considered as secrets of the companies that are developing them.
Some studies predict that the hybrid technique, which combines semiconductor microcircuits and biological molecules, will soon shift from the domain of scientific fantasy to commercial applications. Liquid crystal displays offer a splendid example of the hybrid system that has triumphed.
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