DailyTech reports ternary computing might make its big debut with quantum computing. Today computers only use 0 and 1 but that may change due to advances in quantum computing:
Generations of computer scientists grew up under the notion that ternary computing was just around the corner. Modern computers store information in a binary system, a logical representation of true and false. Ternary computing, on the other hand, stores information as a representation of false, null and true; 0, 1, 2 or -1, 0 and 1.
Computer storage methods going back to punch cards made binary computing methods sensible. When storage moved to magnetic and transistor-based alternatives, the binary system continued to flourish -- and any reason to switch to a ternary system was nonessential with prolific and scalable storage.
But with the advent of quantum computing, ternary computing has a new cause. Universal quantum logic gates, the building blocks of infant quantum computing, require hundreds of gates in order to complete any useful work. D-Wave's quantum computer, announced last year, consists of only 16 qubits -- just enough for a controlled NOT gate.