The Big Think

March 11, 2010

Really Fast

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 3:39 pm

…Having created a medium in which the refractive index is less than one, Putz and Svozil’s idea is simply to immerse a computer in it. That simple act (and presumably some clever design to create an optical computer in the first place) would allow superluminal computation to take place.

Assuming that this device could actually be built, what could you do with a superluminal computer? That’s a good question that Putz and Svozil do not address directly. They say such a device would fall into a class of processing machine known as hypercomputers. These are hypothetical devices more powerful than Turing machines, that allow non-Turing computations. They were first discussed by Alan Turing in the 1930s.

I suspect a lot of this hype is of the not-as-good-as-it-sounds variety (i.e. maybe it’s technically “faster than light” because the medium has a slower value for c or something (kind of like Cherenkov radiation). Still, it’s neat sounding.

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