We are currently on the brink of a completely different approach to computing and computers in general. Since the dawn of the transistor, computers have developed tremendously in speed and power. We are however reaching a threshold on what we physically can do with electronic circuits.
An electronic computer is basing its calculations on the position of the electrons in the circuits, by either representing a one or a zero. A quantum computer on the other hand is making use of quantum mechanical phenomena, known as superposition and entanglement.
A number of practical and theoretical approaches towards creating a quantum computer, capable of performing quantum computation by utilizing the quantum properties found in superposition and entanglement. This is known as qbits, compared to a conventional computers, bits.
A quantum system can exist in multiple states at the same time. It’s called the superposition principle of quantum mechanics. At any given moment, the spin of a nucleus can be both up and down, holding both a 1 and a 0. And if you have two qubits, they can hold four values at the same time: 00, 01, 10, and 11. If a large enough quantum computer is build, then the exponential probabilities of the computational power will exceed anything we can imagine. For example, a single 250-qubit state contains more bits of information than there are atoms in the universe.
D-wave said to have created the first quantum computer, capable of performing operations utilizing the quantum bits. While a number of mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists say that the D-wave is nowhere near a quantum computer, D-wave insists it has broken through the barrier.
Another approach is by a science team at IBM, the grandfather of computing and they probably would like to see themselves break through the quantum problem and be the first with a quantum computer. You can follow IBM on their twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/ibmresearch
A number of approaches by different research teams all around the world are trying to solve the quantum computing phenomena, however nobody has clearly convinced the broader society that their approach to quantum computing is scale able, practical and actually makes use of quantum entanglement and superposition. For more news about Quantum computing and where it is going we will keep the blog updated as often as news come in regarding quantum computing.