NIST: Although quantum computers are still in the planning stage, a team of researchers has developed an algorithm that will be able to run on one. As spelled out in their paper, published 1 June in Science, the algorithm would simulate all the possible interactions between two elementary particles colliding with each other. Because such interactions are extremely complex, they are beyond today’s digital computers, which require data to be encoded into binary digits, or bits. The number of bits needed would be too vast for even a supercomputer to handle. Quantum computers, however, rely on quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition. Their qubits—units of quantum information—can exist in two states simultaneously, unlike classical bits that have to be in either one state or the other. Hence, quantum computers will be able to consider all possible solutions to a problem at once. They may one day enable scientists to study such complex systems as the inner workings of the universe.