These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced (no more than
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Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
Quantum computing is
a strange beast that still uses 1s and 0s, but allows both states to
exist at the same time (time was, we'd throw that data away!). Instead
of "bits," we have "qubits." Qubits can exist in superposition, and
groups of qubits can be "entangled." Entanglement is a sort of long-distance
sympathetic relationship between separated pairs of qubits. The important
aspect of quantum computing is how much faster numbers can be crunched.
For example, a classical computer (like the one you are using now) requires
around 5x10^24 steps to find all the prime factors of a 300 digit number,
or about 150,000 years at a terahertz speed. A quantum computer could
accomplish the task in a just 5x10^10 steps, which is less than a second
at terahertz speed. That means today's best encryption algorithms could
be cracked in less than a second.