Despite the rapid emergence of mobile devices and cloud computing, it’s still intuitive to think of computers as relatively self-contained systems. And, as self-contained systems, they can be relied on to have many if not most of the same capabilities offline as they do online. They work just fine in isolation.
By Michael Byrne | MOTHERBOARD
Quantum computing is poised to upend a great many of our assumptions about computers and what it even means to be such a thing. Rather than centralized machines, it may make more sense to imagine the future’s powerful quantum computers as distributed networks of very tiny computers operating in a way similar to how parallel computation occurs in classical computing. A problem is broken apart many times and then sent across many different processors at once; at the other end, all of the results are put together into a final solution.
Physicists are routinely breaking distance records for quantum correlations, but connecting quantum computers at very short distances is important too when it comes to distributed quantum computing. To this end, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have successfully bridged quantum computers at atomic scales. Their work, which is described in the current issue of Science, offers the possibility of arranging many small quantum computers into dense, powerful parallel networks.