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Government Hardware

The CIA and Jeff Bezos Bet $30 Million On Quantum Computing Company 73

An anonymous reader writes "The CIA's investment fund, In-Q-Tel, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have invested $30 million in a Canadian company that claims to build quantum computers, reports Technology Review in a detailed story on why that startup, D-Wave, appears to be attracting serious interest after years of skepticism from experts. A spokesman for In-Q-Tel says that intelligence agencies 'have many complex problems that tax classical computing architecture,' a feeling apparently strong enough to justify a bet on a radically different, and largely unproven, approach to computing."
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The CIA and Jeff Bezos Bet $30 Million On Quantum Computing Company

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  • by AdmiralXyz ( 1378985 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:29PM (#41554499)
    Just a quick FYI: for those of you still assuming that D-Wave is a bunch of snake-oil salesman (like I did for a long time), take a look at this bit from Ars Technica [arstechnica.com]. Basically what they've built is not a genuine quantum computer, but a sort of "quantum optimizer" that delivers speedups for some kinds of problems. Their crime might be that they just use too much marketing hyperbole, instead of being complete frauds.
  • by w_dragon ( 1802458 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:30PM (#41554855)
    That depends on the problem. I assume the CIA wants it for breaking encryption, which means they want it for factoring large numbers. That's a problem that is really hard for a normal computer to do, but really easy for it to verify. If factoring a 1024 bit number takes 10000 tries, and each try takes a second, you're still several orders of magnitude better than the current state of the art and you've rendered many of the current common encryption schemes useless.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:48PM (#41554927)

    The NSA wants it for decryption and is smart enough to know an adiabatic quantum computer can't be applied to factorization problems. The CIA wants it for the same reason Google did, image comparison.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @01:43AM (#41555897)

    X*(Y*2/Z-1) finishing date, but managers typically misread it as X*(Y*2/2-1), which is why deadlines are always set impossibly soon. Just to clarify, X is ten years from any starting date (3650 days). Delivered Z is antecedent penalty; a reciprocal of the sum of all previous & related technologies squared 1/((q1+q2+q3...)^2). That's why it can take millions of dollars to shorten development time by mere days; the fancy equipment budget negates the penalty of the antecedent technologies. Reinventing the wheel is when a budget of under $20 results in a "yesterday" finishing time, which is a symptom of a project delivering last-age tech (stone,bronze,steel,etc.). New tools and science push the next-age, which means gradually eroding the antecedents impact. Because of how many underlying projects led to current ones this-age, there's currently a very heavy price to get anything done quickly.

    Better tools and scientific knowledge need to become ubiquitous, or else the cost of pushing technology forward grows ridiculous, it's burden becomes too high and new advancement stagnates.

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.