Friday, February 09, 2007

Quantum Leap!

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Actually, there might be a functioning quantum computer working by next week. A firm in my backyard, in Burnaby, B.C., claims it will demo such a computer next week. If it works, it could mean the end of a whole lot of things.

For example, all Internet commerce.

Theoretically, a functioning quantum computer will be able to perform so many calculations per second that it will be able to (for example) factor very large prime numbers in seconds, instead of in years. Very large prime numbers are the basis for encrypting all the credit card numbers that you and me and everyone we know uses to buy stuff from Amazon. Factor the numbers and you can decrypt all the credit card numbers.

Plus, the computer games would be wicked cool.

The professional nerds on Slashdot are all excited about this. They also know far more than I will ever know about computing, and are spending much time arguing about what it might mean. I say we wait a week.

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