Quantum computers, which use attributes of particles like photons, electrons and atoms to compute, would be fantastically fast for certain types of very large problems, including searching large databases and factoring the large numbers whose solutions would render today's encryption useless.
The report lays out the technologies researchers are using to make the basic building blocks of quantum computers -- qubits -- and to connect qubits into quantum computer architectures. These technologies include ion traps, semiconductor impurities, superconductor circuits, quantum dots, neutral atom optical traps, linear optics, nuclear magnetic resonance, molecular magnets, spectral hole burning devices, and Wigner crystals.
Scientists are also at work on software algorithms aimed to enable quantum architectures to solve certain types of problems many orders of magnitude faster than the fastest classical computers.
The report includes an executive summary, a list of 16 developments to look for as these cutting-edge technologies take shape, and a section of 52 researchers to watch, including links to their Web pages. It also includes a quick tour of 68 recent developments in six areas and a section of 52 in-depth news stories.
The stories are organized into nine categories:
1. quantum computing schemes
3. logic gates
4. computer architectures
5. tools and resources
-Hardware, Software and Communications
-Many potential models
-Controlling quantum information
-Holding it together
-Logical vs. physical
-Living with errors
-Tools of the trade
-Reading the answers
-Filling in the picture
-The lay of the land
-The long road ahead