We've seen what (little) a quantum computer can do, but a pair of curious scientists flipped the equation around and sent a humdrum PC to do a supercomputer's work. Professor Peter Drummond and Dr. Piotr Deuar were able to "successfully simulate a collision of two laser beams from an atom laser using an everyday desktop computer," which would typically only be attempted on a substantially more powerful machine. Notably, the achievement wasn't entirely without flaw, as the purported randomness in the testing eventually "swamped everything" and forced the simulation to be halted in order to gather any useful data whatsoever. Unfortunately, we're all left to wonder exactly what kind of machine was used to chew through such grueling calculations (Compubeaver, perhaps?), but feel free to throw out your suggestions below.

[Via Physorg, image courtesy of ACQAO]

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Scientists perform quantum computer simulation on vanilla PC