A happy blue year for quantum computers: IBM unveils Q System One

At CES 2019, the Tuesday keynote by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, walked attendees through the IBM lens of core areas of computing: and one of the four was quantum computing—which comes as no surprise for those who have been following ...

Computer Sciences

Is quantum computing a cybersecurity threat?

Cybersecurity researchers and analysts are rightly worried that a new type of computer, based on quantum physics rather than more standard electronics, could break most modern cryptography. The effect would be to render communications ...

Computer Sciences

First proof of quantum computer advantage

For many years, quantum computers were not much more than an idea. Today, companies, governments and intelligence agencies are investing in the development of quantum technology. Robert König, professor for the theory of ...


High-sensitivity microsensors on the horizon

Wireless microsensors have enabled new ways to monitor our environment by allowing users to measure spaces previously off limits to research, such as toxic areas, vehicle components, or remote areas in the human body. Researchers, ...

Computer Sciences

How to build a computer with free will

Do you have free will? Can you make your own decisions? Or are you more like an automaton, just moving as required by your constituent parts? Probably, like most people, you feel you have something called free will. Your ...

Hi Tech & Innovation

Microsoft launches preview of its Quantum Development Kit

(Tech Xplore)—Microsoft has officially released a free preview of its Quantum Development Kit (QDK)—a collection of tools that will allow users to create, compile and run programs written in the Q# (pronounced Q sharp, ...

Hi Tech & Innovation

Will artificial intelligence become conscious?

Forget about today's modest incremental advances in artificial intelligence, such as the increasing abilities of cars to drive themselves. Waiting in the wings might be a groundbreaking development: a machine that is aware ...

Energy & Green Tech

Scientists elevate quantum dot solar cell world record

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) established a new world efficiency record for quantum dot solar cells, at 13.4 percent.

Energy & Green Tech

A more than 100% quantum step toward producing hydrogen fuel

Efforts to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels are advancing on various significant fronts. Such initiatives include research focused on more efficient production of gaseous hydrogen fuel by using solar energy to break ...

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In physics, a quantum (plural: quanta) is an indivisible entity of a quantity that has the same units as the Planck constant and is related to both energy and momentum of elementary particles of matter (called fermions) and of photons and other bosons. The word comes from the Latin "quantus", for "how much." Behind this, one finds the fundamental notion that a physical property may be "quantized", referred to as "quantization". This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete numerical values, rather than any value, at least within a range. There is a related term of quantum number.

A photon is often referred to as a "light quantum". The energy of an electron bound to an atom (at rest) is said to be quantized, which results in the stability of atoms, and of matter in general. But these terms can be a little misleading, because what is quantized is this Planck's constant quantity whose units can be viewed as either energy multiplied by time or momentum multiplied by distance.

Usually referred to as quantum "mechanics", it is regarded by virtually every professional physicist as the most fundamental framework we have for understanding and describing nature at the infinitesimal level, for the very practical reason that it works. It is "in the nature of things", not a more or less arbitrary human preference.

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