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Quantum interference in the service of information technology

Scientists from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, in collaboration with the University of Oxford and NIST, have shown that quantum interference enables processing of large sets of data faster and more accurately ...

Atomically precise models improve understanding of fuel cells

Simulations from researchers in Japan provide new insights into the reactions occurring in solid-oxide fuel cells by using realistic atomic-scale models of the active site at the electrode based on microscope observations ...

Simulations fix the cracks in magnetic mirrors

When ring-shaped electromagnets are set up in linear arrangements, they can produce magnetic fields resembling a tube with a cone at each end—a structure that repels charged particles entering one cone back along their ...

A graphene superconductor that plays more than one tune

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a graphene device that's thinner than a human hair but has a depth of special traits. It easily switches from ...

Two-qubit gate: the speediest quantum operation yet

A group of scientists led by 2018 Australian of the Year Professor Michelle Simmons have achieved the first two-qubit gate between atom qubits in silicon—a major milestone on the team's quest to build an atom-scale quantum ...

The fun way to manipulate atoms

With their potential to perform calculations far beyond the reach of conventional supercomputers, machines harnessing certain quantum physics phenomena are expected to change the way the world solves complex problems. They ...

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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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