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Thursday, February 23, 2006

The photon's quantum nature flirts with the program's components...

Quantum computing is wierd. Really.

A new technique for quantum computing involves not actually running the "computer" at all:
The new design includes a quantum trick called the Zeno effect. Repeated measurements stop the photon from entering the actual program, but allow its quantum nature to flirt with the program's components - so it can become gradually altered even though it never actually passes through.

"It is very bizarre that you know your computer has not run but you also know what the answer is," says team member Onur Hosten.
Bizarre indeed, but why bother?
"A non-running computer produces fewer errors," says Hosten.
Erm, well, yes, this is true, but only in quantum computing is it actually helpful.

(New Scientist article)