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Quantum Computing

August 28, 2012

Quantum computing harnesses strange properties of atoms and particles and could revolutionize the computer age.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Computing’s new frontier. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Sixty-five years ago, scientists working on radar invented the transistor – a breakthrough that led to microchips, mobile phones and the Internet. Today, physicist Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna, is at the forefront of what could be the next big thing: quantum computing.

ANTON ZEILINGER (University of Vienna):

A quantum computer would use individual atoms or individual particles to store and process information. And that would mean that it is incredibly faster than any existing computer.

HIRSHON:

That’s because particles this small have strange properties, like being in two places at the same time. In fact, Zeilinger’s team recently found that merely observing one particle affected the behavior of its twin ninety miles away. Where will the research lead? Well, just as with the transistor, probably to inventions that are currently unimagined. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

University of Vienna physicist Anton Zeilinger is at the forefront of quantum computing. (Copyright Jaqueline Godany/University of Vienna)