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Study reveals how to break symmetry in colloidal crystals

Nature keeps a few secrets. While plenty of structures with low symmetry are found in nature, scientists have been confined to high-symmetry designs when synthesizing colloidal crystals, a valuable type of nanomaterial used ...

Examining flooding from all directions during hurricanes

When Hurricanes Harvey (2017) and Florence (2018) hit, it was not solely the storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean that led to flooding. Inland sources, like rain-swollen rivers, lakes, and suburban culverts ...

Building a silicon quantum computer chip atom by atom

A University of Melbourne-led team has perfected a technique for embedding single atoms in a silicon wafer one-by-one. Their technology offers the potential to make quantum computers using the same methods that have given ...

From dust to planet: How gas giants form

Gas giants are made of a massive solid core surrounded by an even larger mass of helium and hydrogen. But even though these planets are quite common in the Universe, scientists still don't fully understand how they form. ...

In-fridge controller could scale up quantum computers

A collaboration between computer scientists and physicists at the University of Chicago broke through one of the key obstacles for large-scale quantum computing by figuring out how to move their control signals "inside the ...

What consumers can expect of the global supply chain

The disruption in the global supply chain that caused shortages in everything from coffee to automotive parts to computer chips beginning in mid-2019 will be around for at least a few more months, according to most experts.

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A computer is a machine that manipulates data according to a set of instructions.

Although mechanical examples of computers have existed through much of recorded human history, the first electronic computers were developed in the mid-20th century (1940–1945). These were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (PCs). Modern computers based on integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early machines, and occupy a fraction of the space. Simple computers are small enough to fit into a wristwatch, and can be powered by a watch battery. Personal computers in their various forms are icons of the Information Age and are what most people think of as "computers". The embedded computers found in many devices from MP3 players to fighter aircraft and from toys to industrial robots are however the most numerous.

The ability to store and execute lists of instructions called programs makes computers extremely versatile, distinguishing them from calculators. The Church–Turing thesis is a mathematical statement of this versatility: any computer with a certain minimum capability is, in principle, capable of performing the same tasks that any other computer can perform. Therefore computers ranging from a mobile phone to a supercomputer are all able to perform the same computational tasks, given enough time and storage capacity.

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