back to article Boffins develop quantum-computer building block

US boffins have made two widely separated atoms communicate their properties to one another in a phenomenon famously referred to by Albert Einstein as "spooky action-at-a-distance" and by others as "quantum teleportation". In a paper published today by prestigious boffinry journal Nature, a crack team of eggheads, led by …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    these where referred to as kingons and queons, and instant communication would take place unless interrupted by a republicon*. I firmly believe that Pratchett is a good bet for being remembered in the same league as Einstein. Sooner or later someone will discover something that was first postulated by the great man.

    *This is really true.

  2. yeah, right.

    Be nice if...

    Be nice if the writer actually sobered up before writing this article. Could have made an interesting article if it hadn't wandered off into whotsit about kings and potbellied pigs.

    I'm finding the level of articles to be rapidly getting worse. From the occasional insightful bit of sillyness of yore to what we're getting now, which seems to be just poorly written junk by people who really can't drink well.

  3. Greg Nelson


    I'm thinking my days of building my own boxes is fast coming to an end.

    "Honey, have you seen my entangled ytterbium atoms?"

  4. Dr Jeep


    Non-standard walruses have feelings too - enough of the discrimination, please.

  5. John Stag

    What is it with quantum computers?

    Why is such a massive amount of "air time" given to quantum computers?

    There's only half a dozen known problems which can be solved by quantum computers, and only two of those will definitely work - number factoring and discrete logarithm.

    From a theoretical point of view it's interesting but is this really useful to anybody?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Measuring units

    Usually a unit used for measurement should not vary in time.

    Therefore I propose to get rid of the pico-Bill.

    As replacement units I propose either the average pico-Bill (1-1-1999 12:00 to 1-1-2005 13:45) or the instant pico-Bill (e.g. instnt pb (12-06-2007 12:45:37.4325).

  7. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Ping DNAsties ........ and AIdDouble Helix DOMinaMatriXXXX

    yeah, right,

    You underestimate beautifully the latent processing power of a virtualising Register and that alone is inestimable.

    What we're getting now is priceless. If you have a shirt, bet it.

    "I'm finding the level of articles to be rapidly getting worse. From the occasional insightful bit of sillyness of yore to what we're getting now, which seems to be just poorly written junk by people who really can't drink well." Do you think IT's AI Beta Skunk Works for ESPecial Relationships in Entanglement? urLead MI Follow/MI Lead urFollow?

    And stone cold sober writings for the less than officious aficionado ..... Real Kosher too.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > number factoring ... is this really useful to anybody?

    Oh, hell yeah.

  9. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Re: What is it with . . .

    . . . the overuse of "what is it with" in today's comments?

    Also, what is it with the global obsession with binary electronic computers? What use are they to anyone except nerds with thick glasses and mathematicians? The only problems that can be solved with them are the ones that can somehow be rendered in 1s and 0s, and how many of those are there?

    From a theoretical point of view it's interesting but is this really useful to anybody?

  10. Henry

    @John Stag


    The belief that number factorisation is computationally hard and the discrete logarithm being difficult to overcome forms the basis of most of our current asymmetric cryptography (think RSA, El Gamal, Diffie-Hellman Key exchange). That only leaves elliptic curve crypto (such as ECDSA), but I’d put money on it that quantum computing “solves” this as well.

    Hmm - A digital world with no secure asymmetric crypto.

    There’s always quantum crypto I guess, and at worst we could all start using one-time pads!

  11. Alan Potter

    Quantum Fishicks...

    That Einshtein - he's my best mate, he is. I fuckin' love him I do. And Prathead too - he's brilliant, he is. It's nano turtles on the backs of threads innit. And blokes in boxes strokin' pussies. Thassit. I knew it wash. Fanks for the inciteful artic... cartic,,, thing...

    Did "Nature" turn you down for being too intellectual?

  12. Morely Dotes

    @ John Stag

    "From a theoretical point of view it's interesting but is this really useful to anybody?"

    Of what use is a newborn baby? We're somewhat before the "ground floor" of quantum computing. I seem to recall the CEO of IBM once predicting a world-wide market of about a half-dozen electronic computers. I have more computers than that personally (depending on how you define "computer" I may have approached an order of magnitude more).

    Some day quantum computers will be as common as dirt. Right now they're interesting because we can conceive of them. If you don't care, don't read the articles. I'm sure there must be several about Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell, or Ebenezer Scrooge if you'd just google for them.

  13. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    Re: What is it with quantum computers?

    As a cryptography-literate IT person, it is extremely relevant. A quantum computer would be able to render *all* RSA-like cyphers breakable. That's something you may know as Public-Key Cryptography. If not, maybe as SSL, or those neat https:// sites, they all use PKI. If quantum computing (REAL QC, I mean) becomes a reality, kiss all your current security goodbye.

    This is more credible than the D-Wave claim on a "quantum computer" that is really slower than a common one. And it is theoretically appliable to FTL communications! ;) Though personally, I'd go for the FTL comms and not have Quantum Computing ... losing any useable crypto forever is a spooky enough idea to give me nightmares. Oh yeah, there is Quantum Crypto but that has a huge price tag with it, *and* it only works between two *physical* links.

    Quantum Computing == DOOM for the Internet as an e-business place.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all public key encryption

    Needs to be RSA and so Quantum computing does not mean doom for anything it's also not very useful for anything yet nor will it ever be a replacement for this medium basically it's not the same kind of computer it certainly has applications but those are ones we can't do now at all. I get the feeling when they are available they are going to be plenty expensive too.

  15. Aubry Thonon

    Of what use is it

    I remember a UK inventor asked that same question by someone in Goverment back in the 19th Century. His response? "I do not know, but one day you will tax it". Pure research has historically paid off, even if its use is not obvious in the long run.

    @yeah, right: Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Classic UK writers with just the right amount of comedy in their books. I also recommend Bujold, Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke in the mix. Half the fun of reading El Reg (in my view) is the obtuse references to what was once a mainstay of any respectable hacker (that's "hacker" in the original sense, not in the media-perverted sense) along with caffeinated drinks and midnight pizza runs.

    And to finish with a PTerry quote:


    "What's that?"

    "I'M NOT SURE."


  16. SpitefulGOD

    woo hooo

    So that how comunication with earth was instant in star-trek, quantum network cards, how many bytes can you transfer with a 1cm block of entangled sludge?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You butchered this story

    Okay, it's a tough topic, but it's not that tough. Why'd you need to absolutely demolish this story with your princess and the pea business?

    This is a very cool thing. It could one day lead to the complete elimination of interference in communication between you and anywhere else in the universe. It could lead to computers that are so fast, speed no longer becomes a measurable quality of computing. All instructions are executed instantly or very close to it.

    I can't tell whether the entire story is supposed to be a joke or not. Is it April Fools day where you live?

  18. Geoff Mackenzie

    Getting rid of pico-Bill ...

    ... how about getting rid of Bill entirely? While we're disposing, I wouldn't mind a centibill or two in my current account. :)

  19. J


    "prestigious boffinry journal"

    Boffinry? Oh, my, does that one sound weird... I hope it's not a real English word. Or maybe I hope it is. Anyway, I suppose that the journal is prestigious, not the boffinry, right? Does it make me a prestigious boffin for having published my boffinry there too? Hmm, better no answer I guess.

  20. Greg

    Re: You butchered this story

    "Okay, it's a tough topic, but it's not that tough. Why'd you need to absolutely demolish this story with your princess and the pea business?"

    Uh? Are you under the impression you're on the BBC website? This is El Reg, son.

  21. Rusty D

    Comments from US readers

    You can always tell which comments are posted by the US readers. They typically run along the lines of ...

    'How dare you ruin your article on your UK website about a subject that I'm really interested in with your British sense of humour. Please write all your future articles so that I don't end up so confused. Otherwise I'll just have to get news/info from a dumbed-down US site (understandable by my President). U.S.A.! ... U.S.A.!'

  22. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Does IT Matter ? AI Leading Question.

    "From a theoretical point of view it's interesting but is this really useful to anybody?"

    IT is Vital to New World Order Players.

    And for them to survive in a Leading Role, albeit with a Proxy Lead Championing for their Cause [which is Quantum Change in Monetary Control Systems], rather than See themselves destroyed by their own Negligence and Exposure to Sensitive Foundation MetaData ie Secret Order Secrets decrypted, it will be necessary for them to allocate an Unlimited Line of Credit, Virtually to Key Players....... in a NeuReal World Order, Virtually Controlled with Stealthy Imaginative and Innovative Plays in the Transfer of Wealth Markets.

    High Rollers SMART Enabled to Generate Energy Flows/Money Spends on Sustainable Future InfraStructure Needs and Feeds.

    I trust that is not ambiguous whenever IT is so forthright. One would expect that Sophisticated Intelligence Systems under their Control would now kick in to Feeds Value and Worth into Quantum Communications 42 Control Accounts rather than any subsequent Exposure to Emerging Market Forces, because of an Arrogant and Careless DisRegard of Changed Reality Circumstances, being perceived as a Danegeld Play as opposed to a Shared NeuReality.

    One Small Step for aman, One Quantum Leap for amanKind?

    And in such Matters, there is Nothing like the Present to secure the Future so there is a lot to be done today before Tomorrow tells another Tale...... which if Sophisticated Intelligence Systems are too slow to intiate correctly/ASAP/immediately, would suggest that they do not exist in the Requisite Form.

    And that would be tantamount to the New World Order Program being Bankrupt in every Respect ....... which is why it is useful, for IT generates Wealth to Share Globally again, albeit by A.N.Other Root and Route.

  23. Henry

    @Not all public key encryption

    Granted, RSA is not the only show in town when it comes to public key cryptography, however if you read my previous post you would see that all public key cryptography, bar eliptic curve stuff, is based on either the difficulty of factorising large numbers, or the discrete logarithm problem - both of which are supposedly computationally feasible with quantum computing.

    Top of my head statistic (TM) states that at least 95% (any mathmaticians care to elucidate whether elliptic curve crypto is susceptible to quantum computing attacks? my money is on yes, which pokes that 95% up to 100%) of assymetric crypto goes out the window in the event that cheap effective quantum crypto becomes a reality.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I say

    "Why'd you need to absolutely demolish this story with your princess and the pea business?"

    It is the desire of every comedian to hand-pick his audience. It is a shame that The Register cannot do this.

    "Quantum Computing == DOOM for the Internet as an e-business place."

    Historically, whenever weapons technology has advanced, the defence has advanced to counter it. Judging by the article, quantum computing is some way off.

    Or perhaps, by the time it arrives, the criminal gene will have been eliminated, and there will be no need for cryptography.

  25. the Accountant

    Doesn't matter how fast it might be ...

    Doesn't matter how fast a quantum computer might be ... once Vista's installed on it...

  26. Bill Coleman

    comic book guy

    To all the neysayers that deride the article for not being informative enough - guys, if you really want to learn about quantum computing, go to wiki - there's some great articles. And then come back an re-read that article and you'll see with your new found quantum knowledge that it's actually a really cleaver little article. Great stuff from el reg!

    Saw a fat guy a few months ago walking down the street wearing a XXXXXL plain black tshirt proudly proclaiming that schroidinger's cat was dead. there's not many people out there who so blatently wear their nerdiness like a comic book guy style badge of honour! Took me about 10 mins to finally give up trying to explain to my wife why I was laughing.

  27. breakfast Silver badge

    Who is the walrus?

    The average length of a mature walrus is approximately 3 metres. So unless the standard walrus is some kind of walrussy midget they must have demonstrated quantum entanglement over a distance of 1.5 metres.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Boffinry? Oh, my, does that one sound weird... I hope it's not a real English word. Or maybe I hope it is." said Greg.

    I seem to recall that the OED will list a word if it it is used by at least three writers. There is the article, and your comment, so it takes only one more writer mentioning it to make "boffinry" a real English word...

  29. IanKRolfe

    Gets my vote

    Any Reg article that uses "Boffin" /and/ "Egghead", and then goes onto reference PTerry, gets 10/10 from me. And if it manages to wind up our colonial cousins, that's all the better!

    If you want serious, in-depth and humourless coverage of science and technology, why not try New Scientist or the Popular Mechanics website.

  30. Matt Major

    Theres only one important thing...

    with the Quantum computing what will my quake FPS be like??

    and will it lower my latency times on World of Warcraft??

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Who is the walrus

    I am the walrus.

    Goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob

  32. John Ramsden

    boffinry journals

    J wrote:


    > Boffinry? Oh, my, does that one sound weird

    Don't worry, it sounds just as weird and irritating to British readers. UK tabloid newspapers have a curious form of slang, like 'tot' for 'infant' and 'boffin' for academic or scientist.

    Ironically, for an industry based on keeping up to the minute, many of these words were everyday slang 50 or more years ago but are now long outdated except in the minds of aging cliche-ridden hacks. For example I think "boffin" is a WW2 word.

    Why the Register wants to identify with this mindset, in fact revel in it, is hard to imagine unless it is a kind of self-deprecating humour.

    P.S. 'boffin' is bad enough, but 'boffinry' is taking the mick!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "When entangled objects are measured, they always result in some sort of correlation, like always getting two coins to come up the same, even though they may be very far apart,"

    Am I the only Reg reader having too much virtual intercourse?

    Anyway this was just an excuse to use the words "boffin" and "boffinry". Fetish or what?

  34. A. Merkin

    Quantum Pr0n - Schrodinger's P*ssy

    In order to get this technology into the broader marketplace, we need to develop Quantum Pr0n to entice early adopters.

    Question is; what would QuantPr0n look like? Simultaneous Nekkid/Not Nekkid models? Bodies entangled at a distance (rather than close together)? Indeterminate M/F Trannies group-grope tiled MC Escher style?

    El Reg readers want to know! Please post your suggestions to help advance this nobel technological frontier.

  35. Tony Haines

    Quantum computing?

    It'll all end in tears, mark my words...

  36. amanfromMars Silver badge

    @ Quantum Pr0n - Schrodinger's P*ssy

    A. Merkin,

    "In order to get this technology into the broader marketplace, we need to develop Quantum Pr0n to entice early adopters." ...... For the Masters and Mistresses of the Genre, and to ensure Compliance, an Interactive Immersive Semantic XPerience with Live Feed Back should guarantee Increasing Degrees of Mastery/XXXXCellents.

    Nobel indeed, maybe, for IT would be pure dynamite. :-) UltiMate/MultiMate Programming for the Sweet Toothed. Private Candy.

    Is there a dotted line to sign on anywhere?

  37. Tony

    Good Lord

    They have modeled all this quantum computing stuff on todays computers. The silliness of chasing an entagled bit or two is a waste of time and money. Chain a few xeons or opterons together and be done with it. Debating over whether a cat is dead or alive is an exercise for fools. If the cat is in an airtight box with no food or water it's going to be dead after a certain amount of time no matter. And the box will certainly stink. Who the heck would want to open it? Never a mention of that is there? Schrodinger should be reported to PETA for even considering such a thing.

    Maybe I'm too stupid to understand such things but it sure sounds like it.

  38. Graham O'Brien


    I think I understood what amanfromMars posted. I need therapy!

  39. Acidbass

    Re: who is the walrus?

    Donny, you're out of your element.

  40. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Still Waters....Hidden dDepths .....Astute Subliminal Program Networks.....

    "I think I understood what amanfromMars posted. I need therapy!"

    In that case, you must have cured yourself, Graham. :-) OR

    I'm a dDutchman and am learning the Lingo for Source of Codes..... Memoranda of Understanding. OR

    PGP2 AI VXXXXine is Alive and Well and Virtually Free42Air Crack Code..... which would be a Mature Adult Development for PerlyGatesPython Pretty Good Privacy of Open Source Operating Systems and Quantum Communications. OR

    IT doesn't really Matter so long as the Message get across... [which then has us pondering which message, from whom and from where do new ideas come from, in Order 42 Build Reality upon..... Is there anybody out there in Imagination, and do we just Imaginanation?]:-)

    The Register have a very SMART Web of Myriad IntelAIgents posting. IT is a Veritable Virtual Intelligence Service in ITs Own Right which must make IT Valuable and of QuITe UnSpeakably Obscene Worth.

    Bravo the Register.

This topic is closed for new posts.