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Storing Qubits In Nuclei

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the now-you-see-it-now-you-still-see-it dept.

Data Storage 90

bednarz writes "Scientists have demonstrated what is being called the 'ultimate miniaturization of computer memory,' storing data for nearly two seconds in the nucleus of an atom of phosphorus. The hybrid quantum memory technique is a key step in the development of quantum computers, according to the National Science Foundation. An international team of scientists demonstrated that quantum information stored in a nucleus has a lifetime of about 1¾ seconds. 'This is significant because before this technique was developed, the longest researchers could preserve quantum information in silicon was a few tens of milliseconds. Other researchers studying quantum computing recently calculated that if a quantum system could store information for at least one second, error correction techniques could then protect that data for an indefinite period of time.'" Here's the NSF press release with pictures of the apparatus. They claim that this technique is promising because it "uses silicon technology" seems a bit of a stretch — the silicon the researchers employed was a painstakingly grown crystal of extremely high purity.

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email me!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501501)

leopowerhere@msn.com

Re:email me!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501535)

What is that, like the email address of your social studies teacher ? You immature little pecker.

bgC3 invented it! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501509)

I heard BGC3 has already patented this idea.

Re:bgC3 invented it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25502445)

C3PO is going to be pissed!

DRAM Deja Vu (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | about 6 years ago | (#25501511)

Everything old is new again.

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (1)

Krabbs (1319121) | about 6 years ago | (#25501783)

Worst first post on slashdot, ever?

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501799)

Slashdot: where every post can be FRIST PSOT!1.

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (1)

memristance (1285036) | about 6 years ago | (#25501859)

Get off his lawn!

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501997)

So bad that it isn't even first!

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 6 years ago | (#25502013)

Are you new here?

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (1)

Krabbs (1319121) | about 6 years ago | (#25503421)

Hahaha... Usually they are either funny, stupid or silly. This just didn't make sense.

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | about 6 years ago | (#25503853)

Much to learn have you, young padewan.

DRAM, or dynamic RAM would hold it's contents for a short while, requiring "refresh" cycles. These would read the data out before it disappeared, and write it back. A similar mechanism would be necessary for this type of memory -- just like DRAM refresh, hence "deja vu": seen before.

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (1)

Krabbs (1319121) | about 6 years ago | (#25504331)

Young padawan? Really? Okay, so I should probably have said it made just enough sense not to be funny. Quantum memory is not a reinvention of DRAM, unless you really don't know what you're talking about. In which case I do see the connection. Hence; not really stupid, not really silly and not really funny.

Re:DRAM Deja Vu (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | about 6 years ago | (#25505249)

No, it isn't a reinvintion.

But, the need for refresh is what it shares in common with it, despite being due to decoherence instead of discharge.

In any case, it wasn't intended to be stupid, silly, or funny, and certainly not first: just a bit obscure, as in *whoosh, flies completely over head*.

As my girlfriend (2, Funny)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | about 6 years ago | (#25501529)

An international team of scientists demonstrated that quantum information stored in a nucleus has a lifetime of about 1¾ seconds

Just as long as it takes me to c..

... compute 2 + 2

Re:As my girlfriend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25502059)

Two plus two makes Soviet Union!

So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501539)

The claim that this technique is promising because it "uses silicon technology" seems a bit of a stretch -- the silicon the researchers employed was a painstakingly grown crystal of extremely high purity.

So? It isn't as if they are trying to build quantum computers for everyday use quite yet. Even a single quantum computer would be worth hundreds of billions of dollars to intelligence agencies around the world. The price of materials really isn't an issue.

Re:So what (4, Insightful)

Cutie Pi (588366) | about 6 years ago | (#25501823)

Not only that, but it's not like the silicon used in today's chips is low grade crap. The purity standards for electronic grade silicon are pretty insane considered to the standards of most things we think of as "pure", including pharmaceuticals. (Seven to eight 9's purity is not uncommon). And yet its produced in great volumes relatively cheaply.

Re:So what (2, Informative)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#25502343)

Silicon for electronics has additional requirements. It isn't simply that it has to be ultra-pure for the element, but it also needs to be ultra-pure for the specific isotope. Further, there have to be minimal flaws in the crystalline structure across the entire wafer for any reason whatsoever. That gets complicated when you consider that modern chip making uses all kinds of techniques for doping, stressing and god-knows-what-elsing to improve performance, though there are other factors. If pharmaceuticals can be improved in microgravity, where the smallest unit you care about is an entire complex molecule, a process that is sensitive to the displacement of single atoms is necessarily going to be much more sensitive to any issues full Earth gravity is going to throw into the mix. (I'm not saying that that's a real problem, only that if the oft-quoted case for pharmaceuticals is true, it must be hundreds if not thousands of times more so for wafer production.)

The way silicon wafer production tends to work is to assume a moderate rejection rate. Chip makers test the chips and if they fail QA may simply be re-stamped at a lower grade. The best-known example of this was the early production of the 486SX and the 487, which were just 486DXes in which either the main CPU or the coprocessor had failed in testing. Those from Britain may also be familiar with Sir Clive Sinclair buying rejected chips on the grounds that most rejects for industrial use were perfectly acceptable for home use, and the cost of replacing was still cheaper than buying the better quality chips.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25503701)

The 487SX is actually a modified full 486DX CPU

Last time I looked chips WERE "painstakingly ..." (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 6 years ago | (#25502215)

The claim that this technique is promising because it "uses silicon technology" seems a bit of a stretch -- the silicon the researchers employed was a painstakingly grown crystal of extremely high purity.

So? ... Even a single quantum computer would be worth hundreds of billions of dollars to intelligence agencies around the world. The price of materials really isn't an issue.

Last time I looked, single-crystal silicon technology (what's used in chips except for things like amorphous-silicon memory) consists EXPLICITLY of "painstakingly grown crystal of extremely high purity".

  - A defect in the crystal structure results in the failure of every component that the defect is present in.
  - Carefully-controlled Minuscule fractions of impurity atoms selectively substituted for silicon atoms define the active regions. Unplanned impurities change the characteristics, resulting in components that don't behave according to design.

So existing silicon technology is exactly what is required. Bednarz's concerns are off the mark. The purity and crystalline nature of the component won't impose any extra costs, because it's what is already done.

Some OTHER requirement MIGHT make it costly. But that's a separate issue.)

Re:Last time I looked chips WERE "painstakingly .. (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | about 6 years ago | (#25502867)

A defect in the crystal structure results in the failure of every component that the defect is present in.

Every component, or one out of one. That's something like 100.00001863%

Re:Last time I looked chips WERE "painstakingly .. (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#25502877)

Wow, you're still using a Pentium? I feel sorry for you.

In this context (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 6 years ago | (#25505447)

Every component, or one out of one.

In this context a component is a circuit element on the chip (i.e. a transistor or the like) while the chip is an "assembly", not a "component".

Of course most chips don't have redundancy and fail if any of the (millions of) components on them are defective.

Re:Last time I looked chips WERE "painstakingly .. (1)

Artraze (600366) | about 6 years ago | (#25503283)

> A defect in the crystal structure results in the failure of every component that the defect is present in.

That's not entirely true. The last time I checked, which has admittedly been some time, the defect rate was usually on the order of a part per billion or so. Excellent, certainly, but far from perfect considering that still means billions of billions of ... defects in each wafer. The key is that small, isolated defects are tolerable, so you only need to junk parts with high concentrations or an unlucky distribution. This is why the exact same processor die can have different speed limits.

Another thing worth pointing out is that having a controlled rate of SiO2 defects in the silicon crystal was actually found to be beneficial. Again, though, I don't know if that still hold for, say, =65nm processes.

The point being that without knowing the how "extremely high" the purity needs to be it is impossible to say definitively whether existing tech is good enough. However, if I were designing this I would certainly try to make it work!

Isotopically pure (1)

AlpineR (32307) | about 6 years ago | (#25503613)

I think that remark about high purity silicon is by the editor kdawson, not the submitter bednarz. I don't know where he came up with "painstakingly grown crystal of extremely high purity" - it's not in the NSF press release. But searching in Nature reveals the phrase "P-31 donors in isotopically pure Si-28 crystal" in the abstract. So maybe the isotopic (number of neutrons) purity of their material is above and beyond the chemical (number of protons) purity of standard microelectronic silicon.

Re:Isotopically pure (1)

mako1138 (837520) | about 6 years ago | (#25504113)

That sounds right. According to Wikipedia, the natural abundance of Si28 is 92%.

Googling got me an interesting paper:
http://www.crystalresearch.com/crt/ab35/1023_a.pdf [crystalresearch.com]

Not really related, but pretty pictures of silicon:
http://www.periodictable.com/Elements/014/index.html [periodictable.com]

Nuceli, please! (3, Informative)

mutende (13564) | about 6 years ago | (#25501575)

The plural of nucleus is nuclei, please!

Re:Nuceli, please! (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | about 6 years ago | (#25501613)

Nuceli, please!

No comment...

Re:Nuceli, please! (1)

Opyros (1153335) | about 6 years ago | (#25501833)

Both your spelling checker and Slashdot's have clearly been infected by "virii"!

Let's go all the way (1)

dsanfte (443781) | about 6 years ago | (#25502271)

'in' takes the ablative, so let's go all the way and use the ablative plural, nucleis.

Re:Let's go all the way (1)

xant (99438) | about 6 years ago | (#25502793)

Dude, I know. What a bunch of illiterate hicks.

Wow (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | about 6 years ago | (#25501647)

The first thing I thought was all I need now is a miniturized keyboard and mouse and the worlds smallest lcd screen.

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | about 6 years ago | (#25501673)

And you also have to be really fast because 1¾ seconds later, you have to reboot...

But... (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#25501711)

1¾ seconds should be enough for anyone!

Re:But... (5, Funny)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 6 years ago | (#25501797)

That's what I keep telling my girlfriend

Re:But... (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | about 6 years ago | (#25501975)

LandWhale: Have punctuation errors been added, as well?

Anyway, go fuck yourself, we don't need users like you clogging up the support channels for people with actual need.

=Smidge=

Re:But... (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#25501985)

Anyway, go fuck yourself, we don't need users like you clogging up the support channels for people with actual need.

Don't worry, he only ties them up for 1¾ seconds.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25502135)

Actually it was more like 1¾ hours... in fact I got so tired that I quit before I even "finished". I'm pretty sure your girlfriend appreciated it, though.

Re:But... (1)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | about 6 years ago | (#25502313)

Me too! ;)

Re:But... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#25502421)

Don't you mean,

Spelling and Grammer error have been added too this post for you enjoyment

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25507019)

inches you mean...

Re:Wow (1)

ozbird (127571) | about 6 years ago | (#25502739)

And you also have to be really fast because 1¾ seconds later, you have to reboot...

So their quantum computer already runs Windows? Whoa.

Storing both 0 and 1 simultaneously (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501681)

Let me see if I get this straight. Somehow you store a qbit which is both 0 and 1. Then you try to retrieve it. Problem is, as soon as you do so, it collapses to either 0 or 1. So how do you know that what you stored is what you got back? The more I think about quantum computing, the more I think it's pure BS. Sorry.

Re:Storing both 0 and 1 simultaneously (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25501973)

It's a front. The researchers all ganged up and wrote a bunch of nonsensical papers, then they used the grant money for blackjack and hookers.

Re:Storing both 0 and 1 simultaneously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25502039)

You're joking but you're probably closer to the truth that you think.

Re:Storing both 0 and 1 simultaneously (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about 6 years ago | (#25506551)

This is what I think happened.
A lab assistant pinned a periodic table chart at the end of the hallway.
Then one of the main researchers got to throw a dart at it blindfolded and it came up as Phosphorus.
"Looks like this time around we'll be using Phosphorus."
"Ok your turn...Ahhh Silica!
Let's get down to the beach, get some sand and shove some K into it and zap it with high voltage and see what it does!"
Seriously! Phosphorus is not the easiest thing to work with. Why that?

Re:Storing both 0 and 1 simultaneously (3, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 6 years ago | (#25502347)

Somehow you store a qbit which is both 0 and 1. Then you try to retrieve it. Problem is, as soon as you do so, it collapses to either 0 or 1. So how do you know that what you stored is what you got back?

You don't retrieve it in a way that causes the entanglement to collapse. You instead transfer the enganglement to another particle which then participates in the next step of the computation (or perform that computational step on the nucleus that has been acting as a storage medium).

  The first one corresponds to a memory (with a destructive read - because you can't COPY entanglement, so the qbit itself DOES collapse when the information is transferred out).

  The second one corresponds to a bit in a datapath register where the computation takes place in the register logic rather than in a nearby hunk of logic. (I.e. the old "accumulator" style of processor typical through the 1960s.)

One of these days, Alice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25504579)

The first one corresponds to a memory (with a destructive read - because you can't COPY entanglement, so the qbit itself DOES collapse when the information is transferred out).

Information? What information? There is no fucking information. It's both 1 and 0 from beginning to end, for crying out loud. Why is it that people who think they understand quantum computing actually have no fucking idea what they're talking about? I know. Quantum computing is crap to begin with. The know-it-alls feel that they have to act like they understand it so as not to look stupid. hahahaha... It's a big fucking hoax, folks. It's stupid crap. It makes no sense.

D-Wave is taking its investors to the cleaners right now and laughing all the way to the bank to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. In the meantime, a bunch of other con artists are ripping the tax payers a new asshole. One day soon, you assholes will piss off somebody who's important and guess what? Heads will roll. One of these days, Alice. hahaha...

Re:One of these days, Alice (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 6 years ago | (#25505579)

Information? What information? There is no fucking information. It's both 1 and 0 from beginning to end, for crying out loud.

The information is not stored as the state of the particle but as the entanglement of the states of the set of particles. The state of a set of N entangled qbits encodes 2^N separate possible sets of states and thus 2^N bits of information, while one operation on the set can perform 2^N operations in parallel, one on each of the possible combinations of states.

Now there are a limited number of things you can do. And to get to a usable output you have to perform computations that reduce the allowed states to the set that contains the answers you want, of which you only get to observe one when you finally collapse the wave functions. But that's enough to do some very useful computations.

Like perhaps using a chip containing N entangled qbits and suitable supporting structures to find a factor of a positive composite number M = ((2^N)-1) in O(N) time. Goodbye RSA encryption, hello Big Brother.

Re:One of these days, Alice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25506469)

The information is not stored as the state of the particle but as the entanglement of the states of the set of particles. The state of a set of N entangled qbits encodes 2^N separate possible sets of states and thus 2^N bits of information, while one operation on the set can perform 2^N operations in parallel, one on each of the possible combinations of states.

This is all absolute BS, man, and you know it. Two entangled states does not magically transform into stored information given that you have no idea what the states are until you collapse them. All you can ascertain is that they were entangled. You cannot use that observation to perform "operations".

The idea that quantum properties have superposed states is not based on solid physics since superposed states can never be observed by definition. It is a mere interpretation and a rather lame one at that. There is an infinitely more logical interpretation that postulates that every quantum property has a given state, period. However, the state may or may not change at the time of an interaction (what you call 'wave function collapse'). The probability of a flip depends on the degree to which one or more of nature's conservation laws is violated. Indeed, it is more likely that a quantum state may flip many times to obey conservation laws before it is detected. There is no need to invoke logically untenable nonsense that gets even more strange when some try to explain away the absurdity with cockamamie concepts of infinite numbers of parallel universes. hahahaha... Talk about voodoo physics!

State superposition is an unsupported and preposterous notion that bothers on the superstitious, especially when you bring in weird notions of half-dead cats into the mix. At that point, you are practicing voodoo. You might as well get a bunch of chicken feathers, human skulls and severed goat feet and spread them around in the lab for effect. hahahaha...

Informative, your ass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25510865)

Why is this crap modded up as informative? It explains nothing.

Ah the memories.. (2, Funny)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | about 6 years ago | (#25501685)

It wasn't so much that we thought "souvlaki" was a latin plural when the dish was clearly of Greek origin that bothered the restaurant owner so much as our constant bickering whether the singlar was "souvlakum" or "souvlakus".

(with apologies to Wayne and Shuster)

NSF press release? (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 6 years ago | (#25501739)

Here's the NSF press release

Anyone else read that as the "Not Safe For [the] Press" release?

Re:NSF press release? (1)

Meumeu (848638) | about 6 years ago | (#25501969)

No.

Re:NSF press release? (1)

Ifandbut (1328775) | about 6 years ago | (#25501991)

No, but every time I see NSF I think of the bad(good) guys from Deus Ex.

Re:NSF press release? (1)

jebrew (1101907) | about 6 years ago | (#25502559)

I saw it as NSFW...which considering I'm supposed to be working, it's probably better that way.

Qubits... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501745)

...isn't that what Noah made the ark out of?

Re:Qubits... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 6 years ago | (#25503491)

If noah was already building stuff with qubits, he was getting a lot more help from god than we all thought.

God: Noah! Thou shalt build thyself an ar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501779)

.. measuring 300 qubits in length!
Noah: [Jotting this down with a jumbo marker] 300 qubits, give or take.
God: Exactly 300! And thou shalt taketh two of every creature!
Noah: [Writing it down] Two creatures.
God: Two of every creature!
Noah: Even stink beetles?
God: Especially stink beetles!

What is it? (2, Insightful)

geeper (883542) | about 6 years ago | (#25501805)

What is a quantum computer anyway? Why would someone want one?

Re:What is it? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25502035)

To run Vista?

Re:What is it? (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#25502861)

A quantum computer is cleverly built to operate in both the "crashed" and "running" states simultaneously. Since the "running" state is the only one that responds to the user's actions, users never have to interact with the "crashed" state. This makes Windows run much better.

Re:What is it? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 6 years ago | (#25503429)

I barely understand it myself. A decent explanation by someone who gets it and can communicate in human language would be good :D

But from what I can gather... they do everything that standard binary computers do, but other things as well. Instead of just working on binary bits (which can be 1 or 0), they operate on qubits (which can be 1 or 0, in one dimension, but also have a quantum spin, adding another dimension). So essentially, they work with complex (2-dimensional) numbers as their basic level of computation, rather than just working on a single (onoff) dimension.

If you think of the few manipulations we can do on a bit: AND it with another bit, OR it, XOR it, negate it... and then think of everything that's come from those simple principles: adding numbers, doing logical ANDs and ORs (as opposed to bitwise ANDs and ORs), making decisions and carrying out actions based on that logic, doing simple multiplications, divisions, sorting, etc... all the way up to complex layers above this, like operating systems and mp3 codecs. Now imagine where we'd be if the most fundamental building block, the bit, was 2-dimensional instead of 1-dimensional. It's a whole new ballgame.

One of the few currently known benefits of quantum computers is this: the advanced cryptography we use to protect secrets is based on how long it would take a computer to find the cryptographic key by doing lots of brute-force calculations. Usually, security types are happy with something that would take a lot of expensive computers ten years to crack. Quantum computers, though, by using their extra dimensions to calculate, can do these so much faster, that they're no longer safe. The way it seems to work is that, with a standard computer, you have to do lots of seperate calculations, which, all together, take an exponential amount of time. Whereas, with a quantum computer, it can be reduced to a simpler function that can all be done at once, or at least, in a way that doesn't require every part of the sum to be done seperately.

At a guess, I'd say they'll probably be good for anything involving complex numbers, too. In particular, the Dirac codec, Realvideo9 (or is it 10?) and other wavelet codecs, and probably a lot of things that we use graphics cards' processors and vector processors like MMX/3dNow/Altivec for now.

Anyway. This is just what I've been able to pick up, and might well be wrong on a little/most of it. Someone with more maths training can probably get a better idea from wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_computer [wikipedia.org]

You might also want to read up on complex numbers.

Quantum Computing Is Crackpottery (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25501869)

NSF, please stop wasting the taxpayer's money on that QC crap. Use it on energy projects instead.

Quantum Memory (1)

ktstzo (885924) | about 6 years ago | (#25501909)

mmmmm what would Schodringer Cat [wikipedia.org] think regarding this kind of RAM.

would the sexy picture of barbara be dead or alive when a quantum particle hits my RAM inside the box (CPU).

too many interrogants.

well, since english isnt my native languaje, this is the nineth athemp to make a joke. naah i shod hack slasdot and root it so i get a +31337 karma and get +5 Funy all time :)

Spelling of nuclei (1)

pcountry (662862) | about 6 years ago | (#25501911)

nucleus = singular
nuclei = plural
nucleii = ???

Re:Spelling of nuclei (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#25501929)

plural of nucleius:P

Re:Spelling of nuclei (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#25502033)

Nucleii would be be multiple imaginary nuclei, since they're multiplied by the square root of -1.

IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25504399)

> Nucleii would be be multiple imaginary nuclei, since they're multiplied by the square root of -1.

So THAT'S what they make imaginary property out of!

Re:Spelling of nuclei (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 years ago | (#25502967)

nucleus = singular
nuclei = plural
nucleii = ???

Quantum plural which is plural and singular at the same time?

Kinda matches my attention span :-) (1)

cheros (223479) | about 6 years ago | (#25501935)

However, this isn't the first time short term memory has been used in computing. I can remember (pardon the pun) memory which had to be refreshed, so I'd imagine using that concept would fix the "short" timespan.

However, that's not the only important number. What about latency?

Re:Kinda matches my attention span :-) (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#25501999)

> However, this isn't the first time short term memory has been used in computing.

No. There were mercury delay lines, for example.

> I can remember (pardon the pun) memory which had to be refreshed...

It's called DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory). It's the usual kind.

Re:Kinda matches my attention span :-) (1)

cheros (223479) | about 6 years ago | (#25508583)

I must admit I wonder just how much energy is lost in refresh operations. The problem is that nothing static is fast enough to keep up (AFAIK, it's been a while since I entertained myself with computing hardware).

Re:Kinda matches my attention span :-) (1)

Agripa (139780) | about 6 years ago | (#25509319)

Did you mean nonvolatile instead of static? Static RAM can be significantly faster then dynamic RAM. I expect that NOR Flash could be as fast as dynamic RAM but the demand just is not there when in speed critical applications you can just copy from slow Flash into faster DRAM and lower the system cost.

Re:Kinda matches my attention span :-) (1)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | about 6 years ago | (#25502089)

Well, with the quantum memory you won't know until your data is alive or dead until you open the box. And you're right that latency is relevant, as if it takes longer than 1.75 seconds to read the data it may be difficult to use.

Not this kind of memory (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 6 years ago | (#25502219)

I bet that refreshing a qbit will face all kinds of problems... More specificaly, the uncertainty principle forbids refreshing qbits, unless you want them to behave like clasical bits.

A computer based on this would have to make the hole quantum calculation on 1 3/4 seconds, all the way into a classical result. That would be enough to break RSA if there was a big enough computer, but I guess that isn't enough for everybody. Also, I don't know if it is possible to couple several nuclei and create a computer out of those qbits.

Anyway, that is an awesome result. Maybe people can create some error corretion and increase that time, and maybe somebody already knows how to couple nuclei. Since I am not a physicist, I don't know about the state of the art.

Re:Not this kind of memory (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#25502249)

More specificaly, the uncertainty principle forbids refreshing qbits, unless you want them to behave like clasical bits.

Well, I think that's the point. Just really small ones, so we can get a higher data density...

Re:Not this kind of memory (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 6 years ago | (#25503783)

the uncertainty principle forbids refreshing qbits

Only if you measure them. You can do quantum error correction using quantum computing itself (see this paper for example [citebase.org] ).

A computer based on this would have to make the hole quantum calculation on 1 3/4 seconds

Since the coherence time is long (over a millisecond), quantum error correction can allow for almost any calculation. [eetimes.eu]

Re:Not this kind of memory (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543215)

There is another comment down there also pointing quantum error correction, if you reread my post you'll see that I talk about it. It isn't obvious (at least for me) that one can apply quantum error correction on that system, by the same reason that it isn't obvious that one can create a quantum computer from it.

I guess that if the researches tought that it was obvious how to apply such error corrections, they'd have cited that, so I assume nobody knows how to do that yet. Note that I pointed that somebody may extend the time with error correction in the future.

How is this new? (4, Interesting)

digitalderbs (718388) | about 6 years ago | (#25501981)

I haven't had time to read the nature article quite yet, but it would appear that magnetic moment coherence information is transfered from electrons, which decohere quickly, to nuclei, which decohere much more slowly. Magnetic moments on nuclei in the solid-state and in the absence of local motions can maintain coherences for minutes to hours -- this is not surprising. However, I can't tell from this summary how this is different from DNP [wikipedia.org] , a well established method. Maybe because it was done in silicon?

Re:How is this new? (1)

funkbadger (1394987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25529769)

Hi, (I'm an author on this paper). That's a good question. DNP, which is indeed a well-established method, is only able to move the *classical* state of an electron spin into a nuclear spin. In other words, it could move a '0', or a '1', but not the quantum superposition states of the form '0 and 1 at the same time' which give quantum computing its power. And then there's the question of getting the state back...

first step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25502023)

Being able to store information isn't far from being able to store energy. Is this the first step toward rechargeable *nuclear* batteries?

Re:first step (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 6 years ago | (#25508025)

Given that nuclear power comes from splitting atoms, I think you'd have to be combining atoms to "make" a nuclear battery. You'd be putting in as much energy as the later nuclear fission would give out (including what's lost as heat or light or whatever you don't use), plus some in manufacturing. We're probably not close to exhausting our resources of uranium etc., and fusion might eventually arrive before that happens, so it'd all be a bit pointless at this stage I guess. Definitely worth thinking about though, yeah :)

Re:first step (1)

Chris Snook (872473) | about 6 years ago | (#25508901)

Fission and fusion can both be either endothermic or exothermic, depending on what you're working with. If you're working with atoms lighter than Iron, you get energy from fusion, and fission requires providing energy. If you're working with atoms heavier than Iron, you get energy from fission, and fusion requires providing energy. If you're working with Iron, you have to provide energy for both.

1.75 Seconds.... (2, Informative)

bradgoodman (964302) | about 6 years ago | (#25503077)

Sounds like a very short amount of time - but this is longer than a DRAM cell will hold data.

Throw some DRAM-style refreshing in, and it could be viable at even that lifespan.

Re:1.75 Seconds.... (1)

Krabbs (1319121) | about 6 years ago | (#25504445)

Charging it would certainly destroy any quantum information. What you need is a quantum computer to do error correction every 1 sec or so.

Bogus claim of "miniaturization" (2, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 6 years ago | (#25506727)

This could be the "ultimate miniaturization of computer memory", if not for the fact that each nucleus is wrapped in 15 electrons and about a trillion times its own volume of empty space. Unless, of course, they've found a way to contain degenerate matter and selectively polarize individual nuclei therein -- and I'm thinking compressing matter to degeneracy would tend to shorten those T1 times pretty substantially.

Press Release (1)

nleaf (953206) | about 6 years ago | (#25507901)

While this is certainly a neat result, calling it the "ultimate miniaturization" is silly press-release-talk. For sure, I know of quantum dots in GaAs approaches to quantum computing that store qubits in few or even single electrons. Though the current approach for GaAs can only store qubits for a few hundred microseconds at best, the storage time for Si/SiGe heterostructures could be as long as a few seconds (that hasn't yet been measured, as far as I know, so a few seconds is just a prediction). Beyond that I think that there are efforts to use photons for qubits, but I don't know much about them. An electron is certainly smaller than a nucleus, as much as it can be said to have size, and photons don't have mass, so it's hard to imagine what size they'd be.
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