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D. Breaking Down the Barriers of a Quantum World

Narrator: This is Science Today. A computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley has discovered an apparent barrier between the everyday world we all know and experience and that of the physics-defying quantum world, where one object can be in two places at once. Understanding this transition could lead to robust quantum computing, which according to scientist Raymond Laflamme of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, would be more powerful than classic computing.

Laflamme: On the classical computer, the basic unit of information is called a bit. It's a system which can be in state zero or the state one. On a quantum computer, we can have bits which are not only in either state zero or one, but it can be in the state zero and one at the same time.

Narrator: Such parallel computing would be ideal for security encryption purposes, but Laflamme says quantum computers are not as robust as classic computers.

Laflamme: When we go to the quantum regime, the systems are a lot, lot more fragile. We go down to very, very small scales. And so these are things we have to control if we want to scale up for larger quantum computers.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.