Timogen writes: While large-scale quantum computers remain in the domain of science fiction, a joint team from Japan announced Thursday that it has been able to take a small but crucial step in pursuit of this advanced goal. http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/200
NEC, the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, or RIKEN, and the Japan Science and Technology Agency, published a paper in the May 4 issue of the journal Science, outlining the ability to "controllably couple qubits."
In classical computer science, bits — or binary digits — hold data encoded as ones and zeros. In quantum computing, data is measured in qubits, or quantum bits. As such, a qubit can have three possible states — one, zero or a "superposition" of one and zero.
This unique property theoretically makes quantum computing able to solve large-scale calculations that would dwarf today's supercomputers. But qubits in isolation are not very useful. It's only when they can be connected to one another that large-scale processing becomes possible.