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Physicists Get Two Atoms to Communicate: Quantum Internet Soon to Follow

By William Suphan     Nov 3, 2007 in Technology
Researchers at the University of Michigan have succeeded in getting two atoms to communicate, even at a distance from each other. This provides great insight into creating what has been called the "Quantum Internet".
Now that researchers have learned to get two atoms to communicate with each other, even at a distance, they can now understand the processes which would allow them to create super-fast quantum computing and transmission of data,
Scientists are focusing on something called "entanglement", which basically means that once communication is established between two atoms, they are "entangled" and can then share information at any distance.
If we ever set up a colony on the moon, entanglement and quantum computing would make possible a sort of atomic wi-fi network between that colony and Earth. Space missions would have instant communication rather than a delay. The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations.
In layman's terms, this means that the internet can eventually become so fast that one will be able to download "backup copies" of movies and games in seconds, rather than hours or days.
Techdo describes the process like this:
There are 100 pennies. Someone breaks them into two piles and hands one pile to each of two people, who go into separate rooms. Person 1 counts their pennies and finds that he has 71 pennies, and knows, because there are 100 pennies, that Person 2 must have 29 pennies.
That's most of it. Now, imagine that Person 1 can change the number of pennies he has, but not the total number of pennies in the system, nor where the other pennies are. So if Person 1 chooses to have 69 pennies instead of 71 pennies, he would know instantly that Person 2 has 31 pennies now, and not 29. Likewise, person 2, seeing he has 31 pennies, knows person 1 must have changed from 71 to 69.
This is two people, who are entangled with respect to how many pennies they have.
Now, to make it more realistic, you have to add randomness. Let's say Person 1 wants to go from 71 pennies to 69 pennies. And goes to 69 pennies. Now, person 2, seeing they have 31 pennies now, is not sure that person 1 actually chose to go from 71 to 69 pennies. Just that Person 1 must now have 69 pennies. And of course, you can check. Person 2 opens the door and hollas, "I have 31 now - did you mean to drop from 71 to 69?"
So… we add distance. Let's make person 1 and person 2 a hundred miles apart, in a building with no outside means of communication (no phones, no Internet, etcetera). Now, when Person 2 sees he has 31 pennies instead of 29 pennies, he has no way to know if that was a random change, or the result of Person 1 choosing to have 69 pennies, but he knows how many pennies other person has.
Quantum computing would not only drastically increase processing and data transfer speeds, but make virtually unbreakable encryption possible at a level that current computers simply cannot achieve.
I, for one, look forward to "Quant-Core" processors.
More about Atoms, Quantum, Internet
 
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