Physics News of the Week: Muscle and Quantum Computers

| March 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

Yet another week has passed and,as always, we take a look at what’s been going on in the world of science. If you would to receive these weekly news straight to your email box please register for our email newsletter.

1) A New Artificial Muscle Computer (March 28)

According to Alan Turing’s ideas published in 1936, all computers are manifestations of an underlying logical architecture, no matter what materials they’re made of. Today most of the computer’s we’re familiar with are made of silicon semiconductors, however, other computers have been made of DNA, light, legos, paper, and many other unconventional materials.

Now in a new study, scientists have built a computer made of artificial muscles. The artificial muscle computer is an example of the simplest known universal Turing machine, and as such it is capable of solving any computable problem given sufficient time and memory. By showing that artificial muscles can “think,” the study paves the way for the development of smart, lifelike prostheses and soft robots that can conform to changing environments. Read the full report here.

Schrodinger’s cat might play a role in a development of better computers

2) Yet Another Step Towards a Quantum Computer (March 29)

One of the greatest aims of quantum physicists is to develop quantum computers. A quantum computer is a computation machine, which makes direct use of quantum phenomena such as the wave-particle duality, superposition and entanglement. A quantum computer would have a number of advantages including a much higher speed than that of digital computers and a larger variety of problems that could potentially be solved.

Now new research by physicists from Yale has made another step towards an operating quantum computer. In particular, scientists at Yale University have found a new way to manipulate microwave signals that could aid the long-term effort to develop a quantum computer.

“Our experiment has shown that we can create a medium that on the one hand enables us to manipulate the photon state, and on the other hand does not absorb the photons, which would destroy the quantum information stored in them,” said Gerhard Kirchmair, a postdoctoral researcher at Yale and the paper’s lead author. “This creates a source for novel quantum states without the need for complicated control techniques and could simplify certain quantum computation algorithms. In the long run it could be used as one of the many resources required to build a quantum computer.” Read more here.

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