Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Divide and Conquer for Quantum Computers,'' by Ivars Peterson. Science News, 14 June 1997, page 367.

Scientists are laying the theoretical groundwork for quantum computers, devices of the future that hold the hope of speeding up computing enormously. Bell Labs' Lov K. Grover has developed a way to use quantum computing to carry out an important kind of calculation, that of finding the mean of a large set of numbers. By representing the numbers as quantum mechanical particles, Grover shows how one can obtain an estimate of the mean by manipulating the phases of the particles. Using quantum entanglement, he demonstrates a way to speed up the calculation further by distributing the computations among a number of different processors.

--- Allyn Jackson