When quantum computers were first proposed in the 1970s and 1980s (by theorists such as the late Richard Feynmann of California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.; Paul Benioff of Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois; David Deutsch of Oxford U. in England., and Charles Bennett of IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), many scientists doubted that they could ever be made practical. But in 1994, Peter Shor of AT&T Research described a specific quantum algorithm for factoring large numbers exponentially faster than conventional computers fast enough to break the security of many public-key cryptosystems. Shor's algorithm opened the doors to much more effort aimed at realizing the quantum computers' potential. Significant progress has been made by numerous research groups around the world.
Chuang is currently among the world's leading quantum computing experimentalists. He also led the teams that demonstrated the world's first 2-qubit quantum computer (in 1998 at University of California Berkeley) and 3-qubit quantum computer (1999 at IBM Almaden). The order-finding result announced today is the most complex algorithm yet to be demonstrated by a quantum computer.
related : IBM-Led Team Unveils Most-Advanced Quantum Computer