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January 12th, 2010
In a groundbreaking feat of computation, a team of international scientists—including Harvard researchers—have calculated the precise energy of a hydrogen molecule using a quantum computer.
While scientists have been able to determine the energy of hydrogen using paper and pencil since the 1930s, they now know they can use a quantum computer to perform this—and hopefully more complex calculations—with precision. Using classical computers, calculating the energies of larger molecules was virtually unimaginable because "the numbers get literally astronomical," according to University of Queensland Physics Professor Andrew G. White, one of the authors of the study published in Nature Chemistry on Jan. 10.
"A classical computer trying to do an exact simulation of a complex process would just blow up," White said.
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