Thursday, February 23, 2006

Truth Is Stranger Than Science Fiction

Researchers have developed a computer that runs programs while turned off. Wow.

Now, it's a quantum computer and not a regular binary desktop PC like you're using right now. So having one of your own is years off yet. But still:
They send a photon into a system of mirrors and other optical devices, which included a set of components that run a simple database search by changing the properties of the photon.

The new design includes a quantum trick called the Zeno effect. Repeated measurements stop the photon from entering the actual program, but allow its quantum nature to flirt with the program's components - so it can become gradually altered even though it never actually passes through.
The geek in me loves the weirdness of this.

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