One of the many challenges facing quantum computing
is finding a practical material from which to process the quantum information -- the material must not be so exotic such that it becomes too prohibitive and expensive to use for mass calculations. That's why a recently discovered hidden magnetic "quantum order" in ceramic has scientists in such a tizzy. By heating or doping the material with a variety of impurities, scientists from the London Center for Nanotechnology have found a way to propagate magnetic excitations over long chains of atoms in the otherwise magnetically disordered material. Armed then, with the ability to break the chains into independent sub-chains, each with it's own hidden order, scientists have taken the first step towards engineering spin-based quantum states from ceramics. Right, the quantum analogy to those good ol' 1 and 0 state changes used by today's not-so-super computers.
[Thanks, Scott S.]