These are exciting times in computer technology. Recently, Intel, IBM and AMD have demonstrated transistor technology that is on the nanometer scale (less than .1 microns). However, with the decreasing size of each transistor and more of them on each chip, the power requirements are becoming such that, at the present rate, chips 5-10 years from now will put out more heat than a thermo-nuclear reactor. Intel is approaching this problem using a new design for transistors. Intel's Press Release http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/photos/20011126tech.htm However, there are physical constants that cannot be breached. At these small levels, the transistors literally switch single electrons -- so they cannot act as amplifiers. The limit for this technology will fall between 5-9 nanometers, and then that's it -- we simply cannot build transistors any smaller than this. This will get us up to around 2020 with top speeds around 50-100 gigahertz. Ahhh, but don't fret just yet. Once we get to the atomic level, really weird things begin to take place -- this is within the realm of quantum mechanics. At this level, electrons simply "sometimes" just tunnel right through the gates and some times just to something else. This is the nature of quantum mechanics. Once we reach the limits of the "classical computer," quantum technology will already have advanced to a level enabling quantum computations. The really amazing thing about quantum computers is their ability to tap into alternative universes to use virtual computers among "billions" of other universes (Hilbert's Space) to make calculations using something called Qubits. Qubits can be both on and off at the same time! Advanced Resource: http://www.informatics.bangor.ac.uk/~schmuel/comp/comp.html Layman's Resource: http://www.cs.caltech.edu/~westside/quantum-intro.html These computers will be millions of times faster than today's classical super-computers. Today quantum computers have already demonstrated the ability to instantly find the factors of small numbers (due to their limited Qubits as of yet). However, this presents a large problem for cryptography since that technology depends on the simple fact that it is easy to confirm a number as a factor for a very large number but extremely CPU intensive to devise one from scratch. Quantum computers can reach into how many other universes are necessary to come up with EVERY factor instantly.