Quantum computers are computers that operate on sub-atomic quantum bits instead of regular bits. While the regular bits' state can be either "0" or "1", a quantum bit can be in state "0", "1", or "something in between".
That's really all I dare to say without the fear of sounding stupid. It's a complicated topic and a target of research for decades to come. You'll find more information about quantum computers by Googling for "quantum computer"... [ August 15, 2004: Message edited by: Lasse Koskela ]
Howdy howdy howdy.
Some colleagues and I have recently written a book specifically to introduce coders to quantum computing, and give them hands-on experience.
Even better tomorrow (Oct 8) on CodeRanch I'll be hosting a week-long promo Q&A on quantum computing, and my co-authors and I will be very pleased to answer any questions at all, with working code samples whenever possible.
Programming Quantum Computers from O'Reilly Media is available recently, as a physical book and ebook (the physical one is my favorite). The book goes through specifically what the machines can do, how they're different, and how to use them.
Campbell Ritchie wrote:What does the octopus on the cover represent? Is it their ability to decrypt even the smallest holes and escape from aquaria?
Ha, maybe! We were considering using a tardigrade (the only animal which might actually survive inside the cryostat/1k-fridge of a QPU) instead, but when the O'Reilly folks picked the Musky Octopus, we fell in love. It's smart and alien, like a good QPU program. :]