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[ Wed. Jan. 10. 2007 ]

Qubits for dollars. Quantum computing guru David Deutsch is the first recipient of the $95,000 Edge of Computation Science Prize for researchers whose computerrelated ideas touch on broader questions about life, the universe, and everything. 

The 52-year-old Deutsch, at the University of Oxford,U.K., provided the first blueprints for a universal quantum computer in 1985, bringing to life an earlier suggestion from physicist Richard Feynman.Quantum computation,which theoretically is exponentially faster than classical computing, could potentially speed up calculations that currently hamper fields such as physics, biology, and nanotechnology. 

"Deutsch clearly deserved the prize because of his seminal role in creating and furthering quantum computation", says physicist and computer scientist Seth Lloyd of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who was a judge. But it's an unusual reward that transcends disciplines; other nominees were from fields of computational biology, software development, and communications, he notes."I'll be very interested to see who wins it next," says Lloyd.

The prize is funded by philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein.