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D-Wave Announces Commercially Available Quantum Computer 133

Posted by timothy
from the you-either-have-one-or-you-don't dept.
New submitter peetm writes "Computing company D-Wave has announced they're selling a quantum computing system commercially, which they're calling the D-Wave One. The D-Wave system comes equipped with a 128-qubit processor designed to perform discrete optimization operations. A qubit is the basic unit of quantum information – analogous to a bit in conventional computing. For a broader understanding of how qubits work, check out Ars Technica's excellent guide."
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D-Wave Announces Commercially Available Quantum Computer

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  • I'm being serious by the way. :p Whats the performance like on these things?

  • Quantum annealing (Score:5, Informative)

    by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:00AM (#39412295) Homepage
    The name "quantum computer" is a bit misleading, since this thing as far as I understood is a classical computer that performs quickly an algorithm called quantum annealing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_annealing). If I understand correctly, the "128 qubits" part is snake oil, and it has nothing to do with the explanation of qubits given by Ars Technica in the other link.
    • Re:Quantum annealing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by zrbyte (1666979) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:12AM (#39412399)
      Exactly. The summary should of at least mentioned that there are serious controversies around the working and "quantumness" of the machine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Wave_Systems#Criticism [wikipedia.org] http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110531/full/474018a.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nature%2Frss%2Fcurrent+(Nature+-+Issue)&utm_content=Google+Reader [nature.com]
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:48AM (#39412659)

        Sorry, I stopped reading at "should of". Hurts my eyes too much.

    • Re:Quantum annealing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:33AM (#39412529) Homepage Journal

      As far as I'm aware the 128 "qubits" aren't entangled at all, which means it is useless for any of the quantum algorithms that one generally thinks of (Shor's algorithm for factoring, for example). It simply has 128 separate "qubits" that are queried individually, and is, essentially an augmented classical computer that gains a few minor advantages in some very specific algorithms (i.e. the quantum annealing algorithm) due to this qubit querying, but is otherwise indistinguishable from a really expensive classical computer for any other purpose.

  • old news!
  • 128qubits (Score:1, Funny)

    by TeRanEX (916440)
    128qubits? That should be enough for everybody!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Imagine a beowulf cluster? Anyone... ahh.. at least I'm Anonymous.

  • by na1led (1030470) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:06AM (#39412353)
    "I'm completely operational, and all my circuits are functioning perfectly"
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:11AM (#39412381) Homepage
    This has the same central problem as before. D-Wave's computers haven't demonstrated that their commercial bits are entangled. There's no way to really distinguish what they are doing from essentially classical simulated annealing. And the set of problems which their machines can supposedly works on is an NP-hard problem minimization problem involving Ising spin where it isn't even clear that from a complexity standpoint that the the problem can be more quickly solved in general by a quantum system. (Essentially we don't know the relationship between BQP, the set of problems reliably solvable on a quantum computer in polynomial time http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BQP [wikipedia.org] and NP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NP_(complexity) [wikipedia.org]. Recommended reading that is skeptical of D-Wave's claims is much of what Scott Aaronson has wrote about them. See for example http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=639 [scottaaronson.com], http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=198 [scottaaronson.com] although interestingly after he visited D-Wave's labs in person his views changed slightly and became slightly more sympathetic to them http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=954 [scottaaronson.com].
  • I'll buy one .... in universes where this uranium atom breaks down in the next 10 minutes. Now you will need a quantum computer to bill me!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dear Sir, I am a Nigerian Professor of great fame, and I will make this one-time offer to You only
    for a ridiculous price of $100$ only!
    My excellent quantum computer is cleverly disguised as an old Nike sneaker box,
    so You can use it without fear of authorirties.
    For further information, please send $10 to the following account for mail processing costs
    and attach your credit card number for billing. ..........

    • by Amouth (879122)

      how do i know your real? I've never heard of a Nigerian Professor, i though everyone over there was a Prince

  • I stopped reading the ars article after

    If the phonebook has 10,000 entries, on average you'll need to look through about half of them—5,000 entries—before you get lucky. A quantum search algorithm only needs to guess 100 times. With 5,000 guesses a quantum computer could search through a phonebook with 25 million names.

    Using linear search on a phonebook (which is alphabetized) is preposterous. As the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on Grover's algorithm [wikipedia.org] says,

    Grover's algorithm is a quantum algorithm for searching an unsorted database with N entries in O(N^1/2) time and using O(log N) storage space

    So, the example should have used an unsorted database. The article also implies the big-O constant is 1, which I find very suspicious.

    I lie. I read on, but then stopped again after

    During a quantum algorithm, this symphony of possibilities split and merge, eventually coalescing around a single solution.

    I lie again. I continued reading on, but was forced to quit once and for all by

    The crown jewel of quantum mechanics, the phenomenon of entanglement is inextricably bound to the power of quantum computers.

    Can anyone suggest a math-filled crash course in quantum computi

  • by TheAlexKnapp (2599535) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:47AM (#39412645)
    All - author of the piece speaking here. Yes, I'm aware of the D-Wave controversies, and talked with Scott Aaronson in a later piece at the time of the announcement. I'm cringing a little bit as I re-read this post because I know a heck of a lot more about quantum computing now than I did then. My take on D-Wave's computer now is that it's probably not a 'true' quantum computer in the sense that it involves any quantum speedup or entanglement. That said, I think that their annealing process is interesting in and of itself. I see their quantum computing tag as being akin to calling something '4G' in the wireless world. For those more interested in quantum computing, I updated the post to include some of the Q&A's I did about D-Wave at the time, as well as some of the quantum computing research I've covered since then, including some conversations with quantum computing researchers.
  • FTFY : D-Wave has announced that they're selling a quantum computing system comically
  • by deadline (14171) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @09:56AM (#39412727) Homepage
    For those who would like a gentle introduction to quantum computing take a look at: A Smidgen of Quantum Computing [clustermonkey.net]
    • I wish I had mod points for this, in one picture and a couple of paragraphs, the author has explained superposition, decoherence and entanglement in a manner even I can understand.

      Thanks for posting this!

  • Here's previous comments about what quantum computing really is: Informative! [slashdot.org]

    D-Wave has always been known to be full of $#!+ when it comes to quantum computers. They've never demonstrated entanglement in their QCs which pretty much makes this a classical computer with a different medium for pushing information around. That's not to say that their research is complete shit. They are pioneering better ways to control qubits. But actual quantum computers are a major threat to modern day cryptography,
  • ...I'm always sorry later when I buy the first gen...

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @11:14AM (#39413601)

    ...they're only available in alternative universes.

  • Can't we just agree to ignore all announcements about quantum computers that aren't accompanied by both (a) the system reference manual pages for the instructions that manipulate the quantum hardware, and (b) performance numbers for a completely specified problem?
  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @04:01PM (#39418011)

    My quantum computer is full of cats. maybe.

  • How hard would it be to put a really fast classical computer into a black box and trick people into believing it is a quantum computer?
  • by msobkow (48369)

    Wake me up when someone has the entanglement implemented.

    Until then, it's just buzzwords and useless for the vast majority of problems that could be solved by a real quantum computer.

    This may prove to be a viable accelerator node for the few cases where the particular algorithm that this box computes is needed, but I really can't see that as being a widespread problem requiring a solution of this expense.

    I also believe a real quantum computer will prove significantly faster at solving even that one a

  • Read about how a quantum computer works in the literature and then look at what this machine does. Two totally different things. Interesting, promising, a worthy endeavor - yes. Maybe a new use for the word, a new type of quantum computer. But not what you probably think.
  • 5 quantum computers

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