Nanotechnology And The Future Of Computing
I remember back in the 1980s, when we got our first desktop computer, or what later came to be known as the PC. This was the old DOS system with the blue screen and white text as it booted up. As slow and awkward as these machines were, they were still faster and far more powerful than the computers that ran the B1 Stealth Bomber, which was the peak of technology at the time. Now, my teenagers carry more technology than that in their hip pockets.
Cell phones used to be as big as a shoe box. Now, manufactures add bulk to them just to make them easier for people to keep track of. This is due, in a large part, to nanotechnology. This is the science of making things smaller. And smaller. A typical iPhone, now, has as much computing power as most laptops.
What does this mean to the future of computing? One feature that is greatly affected is speed. With smaller structures, signals travel exponentially faster. Nanomaterials conduct signals more quickly than ever, and the smaller circuitry delivers information faster than the speed of light.
These new nanomaterials also will increase the longevity of computers. The materials are tougher, as silicon chips give way to carbon nanotubes. The interior workings and exterior cases of computers are expected to improve, saving people millions of dollars in computer expenses over time.
Over the last 10 years, scientists have been working on a quantum computer. One of the shortcomings of silicon technology is that the physics involved mean that the circuitry inside only perform one function, or at least one function at a time. However, when quantum physics becomes involved, scientists have found that they can get more “bang for the buck” so to speak. Circuits can be “simultaneously ‘on’ and ‘off’”, according to LOT Quantum Design.
According to quantum physicists, since the elements in use can exist in two states at once, they can store twice the information. Since there is no electrical resistance in the circuitry, the current can go from one circuit to another with little or no interference, speeding up the process of retrieval. This is called, rather than a “bit”, a “qubit”. Physicists think that they can get 20, 30, or 50 qubits interlinked. The qubit will replace the “1’s” and “0’s” used in computing now.
No More Bandwidth
Some governments have alluded to the need to regulate internet traffic because bandwidth is finite. With nanotechnology, and quantum computing, there will be no need for bandwidth. The AI introduced with qubits will make digital 1’s and 0’s look like an abacus. This is computing with atoms. Gigabits and terabytes will also become passé, with Qubits and kets taking their place. With the increased information exchange and computational power possible with nanotechnology, true AI will be closer than ever.
Some computers already have Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory, or MRAM. The decryption technology that accompanies nanotechnology holds untold possibilities.
Ian Zader is a technical wizard, he loves his gadgets and anything to do with computing. When he isn’t writing articles, you can usually find him working for a website design company in Bristol.