Pfeifer, Peter Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri; Center for Nonlinear Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
- Power of quantum computation
- Logic gates
- Fast quantum algorithms
- Quantum error correction
- Experimental state of the art
- General hardware requirements
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A mode of computation based upon quantum bits, which can be put into any superposition of two quantum states, designated |0〉 and |1〉. Whereas classical computers perform operations on classical bits, which can be in only one of two discrete states, 0 or 1, quantum computers perform operations on quantum bits, or qubits. Quantum computers hold the promise to perform classically intractable tasks—computations that require astronomical time or hardware resources on the fastest classical computer—in minuscule time with minuscule resources. The building blocks of a quantum computer are atomic particles which, following the laws of quantum physics, behave like waves and exhibit interference phenomena as if they were in several locations at the same time. By equating different locations—for example, an electron in the lowest orbit or in an excited orbit of an atom—to binary digits 0 or 1, one may interpret the time-evolving state of the particles as executing several computations at the same time. One set of locations at a given time describes the result of one computation. Thus one atom can do two computations at once; two atoms can do four; three atoms can do eight. The challenge is to coerce the atoms to follow trajectories that amount to meaningful computations and to read out a definite result from the multitude of computations occurring in parallel. The control of trajectories is the hardware part of the challenge; the design of useful trajectories—algorithms that are superior to classical algorithms—is the software part of the challenge. See also: Digital computer; Supercomputer
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Its dedicated editorial team is led by Sagan Award winner John Rennie. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 42 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 17,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information