Sep 072011
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Question of the Week, 7.9.2011

One of the top 25 open problems in science [1].

According to the Moore’s law [2], the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. It means that e.g. processing speed or memory capacity of conventional computers is improving at roughly exponential rates. This was true for the last half a century and is believed to continue until at least 2015 or 2020. But as Gordon Moor, Intel co-founder, admitted in 2005, it cannot continue forever. As we are approaching atomic scales, we are approaching the fundamental barrier where quantum mechanics is coming into play (e.g. by quantum tunneling). Some people believe that a new type of technology (e.g. quantum computers [3]) will replace current integrated-circuit technology and Moore’s law will hold true long after 2020, but it remains an open question.




[3] M. A. Nielsen and I. L. Chuang Quantum Computation and Quantum Information (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2000).

Libor Veis

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