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What is the physical form of binary data in a computer processor?

  1. Jan 11, 2013 #1
    This a general, layman question. Computer processors work with binary digits, 1 and 0. Of course, computer processors can be seen as microscopic forms of Babbage's analytic engine. So in reality, in the circuits of a microprocessor, what physical form do binary digits take?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2013 #2

    mfb

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    High and low voltage in circuits.
     
  4. Jan 14, 2013 #3
    what about on/off currents? Though, I've heard that binary in newfangled quantum computers corresponds to excited and de-excited states of atoms.
     
  5. Jan 14, 2013 #4

    berkeman

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    No, not in typical digital logic circuits. Voltage levels are used to encode the binary data.
     
  6. Jan 15, 2013 #5

    mfb

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    Quantum computers will use different mechanisms, right. There is no quantum computer processor yet.
    Current is problematic to control (it would always depend on sender AND receiver of data).
     
  7. Jan 18, 2013 #6
    what about the one from D-Wave?
     
  8. Jan 18, 2013 #7
    the sort of digital logic circuits found in most PCs? what sort of circuits use current?
     
  9. Jan 18, 2013 #8

    rcgldr

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    Processors also include "tables" of data for certain operations, so in addtion to voltage levels, binary data is represented by the presence or absence of connectors or diodes used to change a set of voltage inputs into a particular combination for output from a table.
     
  10. Jan 18, 2013 #9

    mfb

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    Is that more than an announcement?
    Their flux qubits would use the direction of current flow (or, equivalently, the direction of a magnetic field) to decode 0, 1 and superpositions of those.

    In all.

    Well, current can correspond to data in analog circuits.
     
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