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Quantum computing may actually be useful, after all


In recent years, quantum computers have lost some of their luster. In the 1990s, it seemed that they might be able to solve a class of difficult but common problems — the so-called NP-complete problems — exponentially faster than classical computers. Now, it seems that they probably can't. In fact, until this week, the only common calculation where quantum computation promised exponential gains was the factoring of large numbers, which isn't that useful outside cryptography.
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