Super-speedy quantum computing just around the corner

The world of transistor computer chips as we know them has taken a step closer to extinction today as UK scientists made the world's first calculation on an optical based unit.

The team from Bristol University used principles of quantum mechanics in a photonic chip which can crunch numbers with moving particles of light. This opens the door to the scaling of computations down from the micro to the nano and can even offer a more faithful method of information transfer.

That said, like all the best tech, it's only in early stages and we're looking at a good 30 or 40 years before we see quantum chip based super computers running our lives. To put it in perspective, the calculation asked by the team in Bristol was simply to find the prime factors of 15. The chip correctly came up with three and five. Although such number crunching is at the core of much of the internet's encryption, there's no need to go updating your systems just yet.


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