The quantum computer is every IT specialist's hope and every average man's dream. It is essentially a computer that makes direct use of distinctively quantum mechanical phenomena for computation, like superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data.
In it, the data is measured by qubits (Quantum bits). The basic principle of quantum computation is that the quantum properties of particles
can be used to represent and structure data and that quantum mechanisms can be devised and built to perform operations with these data.
A classical computer has a memory made up of bits, where each bit holds either a one or a zero. A quantum computer maintains a vector of qubits. Qubits are single units of quantum information, based on the fact that quantum states can be interpreted as information, which can be compressed in a state and stored on a smaller number of states. Most researchers seem to think photons will be the next step in computing technology, creating the supercomputers of the future.
Now, a team of researchers at Delft University of Technology were successful in carrying out calculations with two quantum bits, which is a major breakthrough in the field of quantum computing. The two types of qubits are: one that makes use of tiny superconducting strings and another one that uses quantum dots.
PhD student Jelle Plantenberg, at the FOM (Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter) and her team achieved a "controlled-NOT" calculation with two qubits using superconducting rings, a process that allows any given quantum calculation to be realized.
This is extremely good news for the field of quantum computing, which could mean that this futuristic concept will become less fiction and more science, in the not so distant future. The ability to make such applications work under ordinary conditions is a breakthrough in the field.