We seldom take the time to consider the limitations brought on by the bit-based computers we use today where the state of any bit can be either 1 or 0, on or off. After all, so far, we've been able to double computing power about every 18 months. That's a nice rate of improvement, but ultimately unsustainable without a paradigm shift.
The most promising shift will be to quantum computing. Quantum computing, based on "qubits" which allow bits to be BOTH 1 and 0. As this 2000 article from MSNBC.COM attests, "As you string together more and more qubits, the power grows exponentially. If you link two qubits together, you can work with four values at the same time. Three qubits can work with eight values, and so on. If you can get up to 40 qubits, you could work with more than a trillion values simultaneously."
So far, quantum computing exists only in the lab. And, from what is leaked out, it sure very slow-developing. However, it's very possible that our children will work completely outside the limitations of on/off bits and detectable processing times for most computing requests.
Posted February 13, 2006 12:04 PM
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