D-Wave delivers on quantum computer demo promise


D-Wave qubits in the era of Quantum Computing

D-Wave showed three examples of Orion in action, marking the first such demonstration of a quantum computer. The most impressive display came during a drug molecule matching exercise, while two less impressive efforts had Orion crunch through a party table seating arrangement that paired like-minded guests and then go on to solve a SudoQ puzzle.

But there’s only so much you can do with 16 qubits. So, D-Wave plans to produce a 32 qubit chip by the fourth quarter, a 512 qubit chip in the first quarter of 2008 and then a 1,024 qubit chip in the third quarter of 2008. D-Wave next year will also allow customers to send calculations to the Orion system via the internet and then have calculations returned to the customer and then later in 2008 ship actual systems.

The cost for such boxes will likely be comparable to large, high performance computing clusters.

Of course, these grand plans might fail to occur.

“It could turn out that these systems are not protected (from interference) the way we thought that they are,” Rose said. “If so, this system could dead-end after 16 qubits.

“If you combine too many of these devices together and you are not good enough at filtering out the noises, then you will end up with a hunk of a (trashed) computer.”

Start-ups rarely admit to such disastrous possibilities, as you all know too well.

Read it all here…

I’ll be on the lookout for reports by attendees. But no matter how you slice it, this is an exciting development and this demonstration will help to drive competing QC models to more rapid development.

I just hope that the new parallel universe we just switched to is the one where I hit the lottery!

UPDATE: Scott Anderson has more to say about the D-Wave device … and the media hype:

Speaking truth to parallelism
Over the past few days, many news outlets have shown a depressing willingness to reprint D-Wave’s marketing hype, without even attempting to learn why most quantum computing researchers are sceptical.

I still maintain that whether or not the D-Wave system is truly a quantum device, the exposure and excitement (and to an extent the media hype) will provide an overall benefit to quantum computing research and funding.
I also think that D-Wave has been pretty straightforward about the possibility that the system may, after all, be simply an analog computer.

UPDATE 1: Feb 14-07 Scientists Dubious of Quantum Claims


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Inquisitor of reason and objective analysis of modern politics and technology.