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Weaving quantum processors out of laser light

An international team of scientists from Australia, Japan and the United States has produced a prototype of a large-scale quantum processor made of laser light.

Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

When a current is applied to a thin layer of tungsten diselenide, it begins to glow in a highly unusual fashion. In addition to ordinary light, which other semiconductor materials can emit, tungsten diselenide also produces ...

Stretched photons recover lost interference

The smallest pieces of nature—individual particles like electrons, for instance—are pretty much interchangeable. An electron is an electron is an electron, regardless of whether it's stuck in a lab on Earth, bound to ...

Young children have intuitions of great teachers

Human are incredible learners, in part because they are also accomplished teachers. Even at a very early age, people are adept at instructing others. But while there has been a lot of research into how people teach, there ...

Computer

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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