First Quantum Computer With Quantum CPU And Separate Quantum RAM
Computer scientists have built a superconducting number cruncher with a Von Neumann architecture that paves the way for a new era of quantum computation
Back in 1946, the world’s first general purpose electronic computer was switched on at the University of Pennsylvania. The huge processing power of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) stunned the world, or at least the few dozen people who had any idea what it was for and why it was important.
But ENIAC had an important flaw. It could only be programmed by resetting a myriad switches and dials, a task that could take weeks. And this seriously hindered the computer’s flexibility.
The solution was not hard to find. it had already been outlined by Alan Turing, John Von Neumann and others: have a unit for number crunching and a separate electronic memory that could store instructions and data. That design meant that any reprogramming could be done relatively quickly, easily and electronically.
Today, almost all modern computers use this design, now known as the Von Neumann architecture.
The exception is the quantum computer. These devices use the strange properties of the quantum world to perform huge numbers of calculations in parallel. Consequently they have the potential to vastly outperform conventional number crunchers.