Quantum computers are almost considered as the Holy Grail of computing, with power that blows away anything we can see on the market today. Now, a team of scientists working on creating the world's first quantum computer have taken a big step towards their goal.
The team has created a silicon chip that can control and observe a single electron. What makes that useful? Well, according to Susan Angus, who's leading the scientific team, "Building a quantum computer involves perfect control of the most fundamental properties of our universe. Controlling and observing individual electrons is an important step towards that goal." Being able to control individual electrons gives some of that control.
Instead of using binary to transfer information, Quantum computers will use quantum physics, which (from my very, very limited understanding), lets information be transferred even when the computer is switched off.
If you're struggling to get your head around the idea, you're not alone. However, the guys at Science in Public have a pretty good grasp on the whole situation, so it's definitely worth a trip on the link express to try and gain some insight into why this is important.
[Science in Public - Thanks Niall!]