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Opening Quantum Computing To the Public

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the take-two-they're-small dept.

Technology 191

director_mr writes "Tom's Hardware is running a story with an interesting description of a 28-qubit quantum computer that was developed by D-Wave Systems. They intend to open up use of their quantum computer to the public. It is particularly good at pattern recognition, it operates at 10 milliKelvin, and it is shielded to limit electromagnetic interference to one nanotesla in three dimensions across the whole chip. Could this be the first successful commercial quantum computer?"

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28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357273)

There's only a market for at most 10 of these computers, and only big companies will need one.

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357361)

"640 Kb should be enough for even the most demanding tasks".

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359449)

Finally, I'll be able to find Waldo!

Was I the only one? (5, Funny)

f2x (1168695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357363)

I'm going to have to turn in my geek license once and for all...

"operates at 10 milliKelvin"?

"...electromagnetic interference to one nanotesla in three dimensions..."?

Throw in a few universal phase detractors and you've got one heck of a retroencabulator! [youtube.com]

Re:Was I the only one? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357457)

It runs near absolute zero, and shields electromagnetic radiation (which can knock electrons loose among other things to cause problems) to an insane degree. At first I was like "that's cool!" but then I read that and figured the thing must be large and room-like, and they probably only give remote access to it's usage... haven't RTFA of course.

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357375)

No encryption key cracking. Bigger than a PDP-7. Lame.

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (2, Funny)

lenski (96498) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359073)

You have just received the ancient reference of the day award!

Well played! :-)

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357585)

Oh, I don't know about that. Can it run crysis?

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (0)

ernstjason (1238076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357625)

Isn't that the same thing people said when the first computers were being developed?

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357835)

*whoosh*

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (1)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357923)

Isn't that the same thing people said when the first computers were being developed?

*WOOOOSH*

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (5, Insightful)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358065)

Your statement is ironically close to the truth. Quantum computers actually function in parallel to conventional devices when it comes to the simple tasks that they perform, such as rendering intricate scenes, or estimating series values. What quantum computers are better at is taking advantage of quantum effects to exponentially outperform conventional computers at things such as factoring immense integers. They will most likely be used for decryption and quantum simulations, or other mathematically novel applications. In other words, it benefits businesses and scientists the most. They will most likely have commercial value in the future, but that is when they develop more uses for it, such as emulating the human mind to make ultra-realistic (if not realistic) AI. At the moment however, it is still in the computer equivalent stage of useless behemoth. Someone in some field will most likely make a huge discovery similar to the silicon transistors of the past, win a Nobel prize, and set the stage for a new revolution. Feels like a long way from now, but I'll probably be proved wrong.

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (3, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358643)

What quantum computers are better at is taking advantage of quantum effects to exponentially outperform conventional computers at things such as factoring immense integers.

That's a little misleading; it's unknown how fast classical factoring is, so it's impossible to say that quantum factoring "exponentially outperforms" it.

but that is when they develop more uses for it, such as emulating the human mind to make ultra-realistic (if not realistic) AI.

It's unlikely that quantum computers are needed for AI; the problem with AI is not that we don't have enough computer power, but that we don't know what to do.

Someone in some field will most likely make a huge discovery similar to the silicon transistors of the past

Or it will turn out that quantum computing just isn't feasible for some physical reason.

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (3, Informative)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359233)

Actually, it doesn't matter how fast a classical computer operates, a quantum computer WILL go exponentially faster regardless. I researched quantum computers in a laureate report I did a few year back. Quantum computers are able to achieve a dual state as a result of calculations. Also, quantum computers operate on the mathematical principles of a unitary matrix. One of the properties of a unitary matrix is it's reversibility, so that any operation that can be perform can be "unperformed". So take the ability to reverse calculations and achieve more than one answer at once, and you can "unperform" at an exponential rate. For example, you have a matrix with an "and" gate. If you where to reverse the and gate on the value '0', superposition will allow you to get the answers '10', '01', and '00' all at the same time. This means that a 64-qubit computer and theoretically "unrun" 2^64 (more than the molecules in the universe) times faster than a 64-bit computer. Now that is just a simplified gist of things. I don't want any physicists saying "you forgot the Hademard gate etc." The process is much more elaborate, and much more prone to other factors.
  Now as for you other comments: 1) quantum computers will be a better candidate for simulating AI on a common commercial scale, and 2) quantum computing already is possible. The discovery that will most likely be made is the ability to create a room-temperature equivalent of a Bose-Einstein condensate so that topological quantum computers (the most reliable model so far) can be fit onto something the size of a thumb.

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (2, Funny)

Geldon (444090) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358671)

Your statement is ironically close to the truth. Quantum computers actually function in parallel to conventional devices when it comes to the simple tasks that they perform, such as rendering intricate scenes, or estimating series values. What quantum computers are better at is taking advantage of quantum effects to exponentially outperform conventional computers at things such as factoring immense integers. They will most likely be used for decryption and quantum simulations, or other mathematically novel applications. In other words, it benefits businesses and scientists the most. They will most likely have commercial value in the future, but that is when they develop more uses for it, such as emulating the human mind to make ultra-realistic (if not realistic) AI. At the moment however, it is still in the computer equivalent stage of useless behemoth. Someone in some field will most likely make a huge discovery similar to the silicon transistors of the past, win a Nobel prize, and set the stage for a new revolution. Feels like a long way from now, but I'll probably be proved wrong.

I actually am inclined not to agree with you. Back when people were making similar statements about the computer in general, they weren't small enough, powerful enough, or cheap enough for anyone to afford them who wasn't going to set up some sort of business unit around them. But I say give it 20-30 years. What will probably end up happening is that they'll be making quantum processors that run along side traditional processors, working much like today's GPUs, or yesterday's "Math Co-processors." Programmers will take particularly complex mathematical tasks and offload them to the quantum processor. My money says that 50-60 years from now, you'll be running a hybrid quantum/traditional computer on a mobile device you carry in your pocket.

Don't believe me? Try going to someone in the 1950's and explaining to them that in 50-60 years, people will have computers that fit in their pockets and instead of solving the world's mathematical problems with these computers, we've created MySpace... *shutter*

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24358931)

> *shutter*

Click!

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24358083)

Why don't they just simulate the qubits on standard computers?

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (2, Insightful)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358477)

Because then the speed advantage will not be realized. That's the whole benefit to quantum computing. If we tried simulating the quantum properties in software, the task at hand would take even longer than a standard software approach.

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358385)

Maybe when the technology is inexpensive we can all own such a rig!
              But I'll bet that all kinds of research could benefit from use of this computer.
              My best guess is that government will control who has access to quantum computers as they just could not stand communications that they could not spy on.

Re:28 Qubits ought to be enough for everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24358451)

And they will run Linux, BSD, Windows, OSX all at the same time.

Still not easy to build at home (3, Interesting)

Mornedhel (961946) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357285)

FTFA : "These things [quantum computers] can be very small and very cold, and they can be built out of exotic materials" - emphasis mine.

He makes this sound as a good thing.

It is if you are the NSA (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357575)

No chance of having one running off a Honda generator in a cave somewhere in the Pakistan Tribal Territories, or Somalia.

To keep our security agencies happy, quantum computers need to be almost impossible to make. The inventor of a really simple, cheap one is unlikely to have a successful career selling them to Joe Public.

Re:It is if you are the NSA (1)

coresnake (1215632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358837)

Tony Start built this in a cave... WITH A BUNCH OF SCRAPS!

Re:Still not easy to build at home (4, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357919)

  • There's no access to the computer to scientists
  • They say it'll be able to do more than "pattern matching" if they get more funding (but until then that's all it can do)
  • They give their own definition of quantum computing, which is much broader than most would give
  • They claim they can do "quantum computing" without needing the qubits to be interconnected, which is the main problem all other major research teams are trying to tackle
  • Big claims, big predictions, few results
  • Who ever heard of a quantum computer only capable of pattern matching?!

Thanks to scam companies like this more qualification is needed when referring to "quantum computing".

This is only a little better than the quacks who talk about "quantum healing energy"; they're exploiting the vague term "quantum computing" and the small amount of understanding to try and make a quick buck from investors.

Re:Still not easy to build at home (0, Offtopic)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359093)

This is only a little better than the quacks who talk about "quantum healing energy"; they're exploiting the vague term "quantum computing" and the small amount of understanding to try and make a quick buck from investors.

While I agree with you that this device may not be all that it is advertised to be, I must strongly object to your analogy.

I can feel a tingling in my fingertips when I'm "running the energy". There are several methods that I have studied, Jin Shin Jyustu, the book Quantum Touch, and Donna Eden's methods (both books and videos).

It took me about 40 hours of practice before I began feeling the tingling. It's similar to a body part falling asleep, but it is not numb, just tinging. Other people feel it as a temperature difference (either warmer or colder), and others feel it as pressure. There is no "sixth sense"; it comes to you in a form of your existing senses.

I say all this, because I know that energy is part of my human existence, and although I only have a short amount of practice, I have seen benefits. Perhaps I'm overreacting to your wording; perhaps you also agree that energy healing is real, but merely object to practitioners using the trendy term "quantum" along with it. In that case, no worries. But if you meant that there is no such thing as energy or healing benefits from breathing deeply and placing your fingers lightly on specific parts of the body, I can say that I have direct experience that proves the existence of energy.

Just because our instruments are not yet capable of measuring it, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist; just as hundreds of years ago, we couldn't measure bacteria, but they still infected us. The difference is that hundreds of years ago, nobody could "detect" bacteria, whereas I can feel the energy as it's moving. I cannot see it; others can. I want to develop that skill.

Re:Still not easy to build at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24359277)

Okay, you're nuts, we get it.

Seriously, energy is pretty well defined in physics. There are some foundational issues, but what you're feeling is not "energy", at best you've trained yourself to control capillary dilation semiconsciously to some extent (possible with biofeedback; some Raynaud's sufferers learn it).

Re:Still not easy to build at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24359337)

go back to your selftouching you wacko. believing in nebulous 'energy' is the same as the supposed benefit of prayer. if you're so convinced of your para-normal energy powers go talk to Randi and show him all the great benefits it's giving you and collect your million dollar reward. I'm pretty sure his money is safe from your type.

Re:Still not easy to build at home (2, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359293)

Probably, their Hamiltonian phase-space is severely limited. I.e. their quantum computer can't explore all possible configurations of phase-space.

That means it'll need a lot more qubits than an 'ideal' computer for some tasks.

Re:Still not easy to build at home (1)

sokoban (142301) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359239)

FTFA : "These things [quantum computers] can be very small and very cold, and they can be built out of exotic materials" - emphasis mine.

He makes this sound as a good thing.

Oh, it is a great thing for the marketing folks.

linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357329)

yadaa yadda

pretzel stand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357335)

Something about uses for it seem best compared to a banquet table that would sell just pretzels, and everyone in line would know exactly what they want, except when they get there, they'd have know clue what they'd get to use the public terminal for.

Except a quantum computer is probably not just for providing pretzels, or truly random calculations.

Qbert vs. Qubit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357337)

I can tell you which I'd rather tap.

Re:Qbert vs. Qubit (4, Funny)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357417)

^%$#@!

Re:Qbert vs. Qubit (4, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358403)

That's Perl, isn't it?

But does it work? (2)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357349)

From an earlier experiment was even not clear whether the factorisation of 15 had really happened!

Re:But does it work? (4, Informative)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357377)

Links forgotten: This [slashdot.org] and this one [slashdot.org] .

Re:But does it work? (5, Funny)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357507)

All I know is that every time I even mention quantum computing my cat gets nervous and absolutely refuses to get in the box.

Re:But does it work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24358683)

How do you know he's not already in the box, too?

What does this mean for encryption? (2)

eternalDRIVEL (740523) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357381)

Won't this make standard encryption useless?

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (1)

Wonda (457426) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357449)

Probably not IIRC you need a quantum computer with enough bits to hold the number you're trying to factor, so that'll need over a thousand bits for most encryption in use today.

it also seems pretty hard to add more bits to these quantum computers, so it looks like traditional encryption might be here to stay after all.

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (3, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357555)

it also seems pretty hard to add more bits to these quantum computers, so it looks like traditional encryption might be here to stay after all.

That is exactly the point. Qhantum-computers scale much, much worse than traditional computers. The problem is that tweo of these do basically give you the same maximum problem size as one does. (for traditional computers you can break problems into smaller steps. For Quantum computers you cannot, without loosing all the advanatges.) So you cannot use just more to break encryption. You need to build one with more qbits that are all entangled wich each other. My present impression is that the effort of adding qbits grows quadratically or the like, as each qbit has to be entangled with each other qbit (that is n*n entanglements). If that is true, even 100 qbits are far out of reach. This means that all modern encryption is perfectly safe from this quantum nonsense.

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (4, Informative)

norton_I (64015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357517)

No, their device is *NOT* a universal quantum computer. So far as I know, no reputable quantum physicist not in their employ has been allowed to examine what they actually do. Examples of performing calculations impractical on a classical computer are not available as far as I know.

They are something of a joke among the QC people I know. While people acknowledge that their device may be possible of doing some interesting things, everything they do is acting like they have something to hide.

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (2, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357761)

Not that I'm passing comment either way, as I don't know, but:

"acting like they have something to hide"

Something like intellectual property?

Try "something which would stop the grant cheque" (0, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357911)

You'll be closer to the mark.

QC is a lucrative research subject, much like artificial intelligence. The best way to approach it is to always act as if your department is on the brink of a major breakthrough. Under no circumstances hint that the emperor's winkle is showing.

AI has managed to keep up the facade since the 1960s. Parapsychology was weeded out after a mere decade.

How long will QC last, I wonder...

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (5, Funny)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357991)

No, their device is *NOT* a universal quantum computer. So far as I know, no reputable quantum physicist not in their employ has been allowed to examine what they actually do.

Duh, of course you can't examine what a quantum computer is doing. That would change the outcome.

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358701)

On a more serious note, does anyone actually understand all of this quantum computing or quantum encryption? My eyes just sort of glaze over and I somehow doubt there's going to be an O'Reily or Quantum Computing for Dummies book out any time soon. I've done some searching and, at best, I find sites that I feel like I'm almost getting it but not quite. I understand some of the goals and they seem like great ideas but I really just don't get it.

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358177)

So far as I know, no reputable quantum physicist not in their employ has been allowed to examine what they actually do.

Well if they did go ahead and examine it, wouldn't the system change anyway?

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (1, Funny)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357597)

No impact on encryption, unless you use ROT-13.

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (3, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357717)

Hah! I just switched over to ROT-26. Twice the security of ROT-13, and I hear it's quicker, too!

Yeah; I sleep well at night knowing my secrets are safe.

Re:What does this mean for encryption? (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359095)

This has no impact on cryptography whatsoever. Symmetric encryption has never been shown to be a problem that quantum computing can help with. A *large* QC would affect the use of public key algorithms as both factoring and discrete logs can be sped up.

However:
1. 28 is not a large number. Current asymmetric key sizes would takes thousands of qubits.
2. This is not a "quantum computer". Shor's algorithm requires entangled qubits that stay coherent during the length of the algorithm. The 28 cubits in this system are not entangled so it is useless for the (almost) only proven quantum algorithm.

Summary:
Lots of hype, no practical benefits.

How does it work? (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357383)

Can someone post a link that describes the benefits of a quantum architecture and how software can be written to take advantage of them?

And by "benefits", I don't mean hype.

Re:How does it work? (1)

matria (157464) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357483)

Considering that UNIX was developed to play a game on a pdp7, I'd say it doesn't much matter. It will grow.

Re:How does it work? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357545)

Can someone post a link that describes the benefits of a quantum architecture and how software can be written to take advantage of them?

And by "benefits", I don't mean hype.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shor%27s_algorithm [wikipedia.org]
^The big one.

Re:How does it work? (4, Informative)

norton_I (64015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357621)

The wikipedia article is not bad, though it is fairly technical.

A very small number of algorithms are known for universal quantum computers (which the D-wave device does not claim to be) that are asymptotically faster than any known algorithm for classical computers.

The most widely known of these is Shor's factoring algorithm. Mostly it would be useful for breaking public key cryptography. The others are: Grovers search algorithm which can give a small speed boost to any classical algorithm that involves enumerating all possibilities and checking some property and quantum simulation: simulating the behavior of systems of many particles where quantum effects are important.

In the past 10 years, considerable progress has been made, but nobody still has a good handle on when scalable universal quantum computing might be a reality, though it no longer looks impossible--only very hard. D-wave does not claim their device is universal. In particular they don't say they can do factoring. They claim to be able to efficiently do quantum simulation and also traveling salesman type optimization problems. Evidence of them actually solving any hard problems is not widely available.

Re:How does it work? (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357745)

I dunno... Producing a working device seems to be plenty hard. There's vaporware, and then there's university research that doesn't even bother leave the lab. No use if it just remains theory.

Re:How does it work? (1)

the_brobdingnagian (917699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358055)

Grovers search algorithm which can give a small speed boost to any classical algorithm...

I wouldn't call the step from O(N) to O(sqrt(N)) a small speed boost. You can even be pretty fast when your qubits are ramdomly (but not too fast) change state using error correction techniques. So you don't even need a perfect quantum computer to do usefull work.
That said; I know a few people who do actual research on quantum computing and I've never even heard them talk about D-Wave.

Re:How does it work? (3, Informative)

norton_I (64015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358639)

sqrt(N) is small compared to the other promised speedups of quantum computers which are typically reduction from super-polynomial or exponential time to polynomial time.

The real crux is that the type of problems that you often want to apply Grover's algorithm to are already O(2^n). Grovers algorithm reduces that to O(2^(n/2)). With a similar size quantum computer you could only solve problems of roughly twice the size.

Still interesting and potentially useful, The main advantage is its wide applicability. Many classical algorithms can simply be directly translated to a quantum equivalent, then have Grover's algorithm applied. Finding a special-purpose quantum algorithm is typically very hard or impossible.

Re:How does it work? (2, Informative)

bap (75675) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358957)

D-wave does not claim their device is universal. In particular they don't say they can do factoring. They claim to be able to efficiently do quantum simulation...

Being able to "efficiently do quantum simulation" makes a device a universal quantum computer. That is what "universal" means.

Re:How does it work? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359005)

The wikipedia article is not bad, though it is fairly technical.

You must be new here. And to Wikipedia.

Sure... (1)

edalytical (671270) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357863)

I'm using a quantum preprocessor for my /. post as a result I may or may not have told you about the benefits of quantum computing. Unfortunately you can't verify its validity, but I can tell you the state of this post depends in some probabilistic way on you reading it, maybe.

Re:How does it work? (1)

Mad Hughagi (193374) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358143)

Good luck with that - it's all hype.

Quantum computing is the new string-theory, ie. a theoretical physics quagmire. It's soaking up funding and diverting graduate student talent that could be better utilized in other areas.

Re:How does it work? (1)

ndnspongebob (942859) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358185)

quantum computing basically means coders can create black holes from the comfort of a couch

Re:How does it work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24358427)

These will help you somewhat.
more general:
http://www.stanford.edu/class/ee380/Abstracts/080521-SpookytechnologyStanfordFull11.pdf
little hypy (that damned brain reference):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I56UugZ_8DI

Re:How does it work? Parallel universes. (3, Informative)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358705)

David Deutsch's Home Page (http://www.qubit.org/people/david/David.html) is a good place to start. Not only is he an active scientist in the field, he has written an excellent popular book(http://www.qubit.org/people/david/FabricOfReality/FoR.html); "The Fabric Of Reality".

A good reason to look there is to get an intuition of the concept of computing using parallel universes.

But can it run Q*bert? (1)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357443)

But can it run Q*bert? ???

Re:But can it run Q*bert? (1)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357475)

When someone ports MAME to it, yes.

Really a Quantum Computer? (1)

Adam Hazzlebank (970369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357519)

Last time I heard about the DWare stuff it generally wasn't considered a quantum computer, more like a very small analog computer. Is this still the case?

Re:Really a Quantum Computer? (1)

qcomp (694740) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359217)

for all I know they have not shown any proof that their computer works in the quantum regime: they have not given quantitative data showing that they have produced quantum superpositions, entanglement, or a quantum speed-up. So by the standards applied to other work in this area: no, it's not a quantum computer - they have not even demonstrated that they have a single qubit, much less 28. (This is not to say that they are not doing good work. The D-wave folks have some publications in peer-reviewed journals and I think they are serious. But they have not provided evidence for "extremely impressive performance gains" or for any "quantum information processing" in their device.)

28 qbits? Can do less than a pocket calculator.. (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357521)

This ir several orders of magintude from from useful size. Invest the same money into a normal CPU and get much, much more power, even if you use it to simuulate the 28 qbit device.

Re:28 qbits? Can do less than a pocket calculator. (3, Insightful)

samurphy21 (193736) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357589)

By the same token, you could have performed calculations easier on a slide rule than on the first binary computers built. I think the point of this is proof-of-concept of a new technology rather than this particular unit taking over for modern systems.

If no one had bothered to use, abuse, and continue to develop binary computers half a century ago, then we'd still be using abacus and slide rule to perform all our calculations.

Re:28 qbits? Can do less than a pocket calculator. (0, Redundant)

Godji (957148) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357669)

Yeah, I mean imagine running Crysis on that.

Re:28 qbits? Can do less than a pocket calculator. (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358297)

This is very much not the case. Computing developed for entirely practical reasons, performing computations which were either difficult or impossible to perform without them: brute forcing the Enigma codes, calculating artillery tables, etc.

In any case, the summary (I haven't bothered to read the article) makes it sound like they're presenting it as a practical, useful device, in which case saying that it's too weak to be useful is an entirely valid criticism.

Google Temp Conversions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357525)

For anyone who is interested

10 millikelvin = -459.65200 degrees Fahrenheit
10 millikelvin = -273.14 degrees Celsius

Re:Google Temp Conversions (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357651)

But how much is it in degrees Rankin? /sarcasm

By the way you cannot really understand what a temperature this close to 0 kelvins represents if you don't know what 0 K is, and when you do not only you know how much 0 K is but it also makes the conversion irrelevant because 10 mK = 0.01 K = 0.01 Celsius above 0 K = 0.018 F above 0 K

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357639)

Beowulf and nut cluster reference.

You may now mod this post down into its quantum components.

South Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357659)

In South Korea, quantum computing is for old people...

Yea... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357673)

...but will it run Crysis?

1st thing I'd get it to compute... (4, Funny)

dos4who (564592) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357719)

"What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?"

Re:1st thing I'd get it to compute... (2, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358187)

I'd write a Jeopardy program and have the only clue be "42". I'd like to see what the thing churns out.

Re:1st thing I'd get it to compute... (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24359465)

I'd write a Jeopardy program and have the only clue be "42". I'd like to see what the thing churns out.

Answer: "How many roads must a man walk down?"

Re:1st thing I'd get it to compute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24358521)

42

Nice cooling (1)

kno3 (1327725) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357777)

I don't think my water cooling system will be up for the task of cooling that chip. Yet more expenses!

The real question is... (1)

erKURITA (1114707) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357829)

Does it run GNU/Linux?

Re:The real question is... (3, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358383)

It does, and does not!

D-Wave a bit of scam (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24357847)

I work with the IQC, we specialize in quantum computing, quantum crypto, and many other things like that. We are also joined partially with the Perimeter Institute (and they do mostly theoretical physics). Anyway, when I first joined the institute, we had a discussion about d-wave. No one believed that it was real, and in fact considers d-wave to be bad for the field. Many of you will probably remember the cold fusion controversy. What happened was that experiment that could not be reproduced was published. This enraged the scientific community. Also, this led to massive funding cuts, and killed off the field. QC has a more stable base, but if d-wave keeps on been publicized like this, and they can never prove their claims (remember that all the experiments and functioning of the QC are considered "trade secrets", they let no one look at it), then we may end up with skepticism from the funders. Keep in mind that the ones who donate have usually no clue what is happening in the field (politicians, ceos, etc, so they are "stupid" enough to be affected by this. Everyone in the field is in the back of their head hoping that its real, but with that chance being so low, we want d-wave to be forgotten.

Re:D-Wave a bit of scam (1)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358117)

So are you saying that they haven't yet passed a series of tests that would prove their computer is working?

One would think that it should be possible to design tests which they could pass if they possessed the working technology, without them having to reveal how exactly they achieved the result.

Very high level example: For instance, perform X number of Z type calculations in Y seconds, where Z type calculations would normally take present-day computers Y * 10 months of time but through quantum computing can be done in mere seconds.

So long as they produce the desired results, they should have a right to keep their technology confidential for trade secret/monetary reasons. Although of course, for the sake of the advancement of humanity/technology, it would be nice to give out the info.

Adeptus

Re:D-Wave a bit of scam (1, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358207)

[CITATION NEEDED]

You state that you work for the Institute for Quantum Computing" [wikipedia.org] . How are we to know that you are not just badmouthing a company that may have gotten on your bad site?

Sources and facts, please.

Call me when it can run a useful program... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357865)

...then we'll discuss the word "successful".

Uh (2, Informative)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#24357921)

It is particularly good at pattern recognition, it operates at 10 milliKelvin, and it is shielded to limit electromagnetic interference to one nanotesla in three dimensions across the whole chip. Could this be the first successful commercial quantum computer?

Based on that description? No. I don't even know what the fuck any of that stuff you just said even means, man (except for the bit about pattern recognition, which was an unquantified statement anyway and about as useful as "the computer is fast"). Speak in a language I can understand, like, the average framerate it can run Crysis at.

Re:Uh (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358153)

I'll translate for you:

It's fairly useless but less useless at pattern recognition than it is for anything else. To make it work we have to make it really really cold. It won't get cancer from cell phones. We won't make any money off of this particular machine.

Re:Uh (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358325)

I don't even know what the fuck any of that stuff you just said even means

Do you understand what it means to say that the CPU in your desktop has a 14-stage execution pipeline? That it has a TLB hit rate over 98%? That it has a double-pumped ALU?


Based on that description? No.

Whether or not you understand the specs has no relation to commercial viability. As you say, you (or Joe Average) only care how it will affect your frame rate in the latest FPS.

Re:Uh (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358453)

It might be valuable as a specialized research tool, or in industry as a component of production, but it isn't consumer-viable. It will never be a "final product" (as counted in the GDP), at least not in this decade.

Also, no, I didn't understand any of that stuff either, haha. I'm a student of economics and a consumer, not a hardware engineer.

Sounds interesting (1)

bperkins (12056) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358079)

But their claims are so far of everyone else's and there are so few details about how it works that it also sounds like an investment scam.

Quantum computer tech support (5, Funny)

yorkshiredale (1148021) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358149)

"Hello, Quantum Computer Tech Support"

"My new QC is not working, I'd like a replacement under the warranty"

"What makes you think it's broken?"

"It keeps giving wrong results"

"But it's giving the right results in lots of nearby parallel universes. The computer is not broken - you're not observing from the recommended viewing position. This is user error." CLICK.

No proof (5, Informative)

bugnotme (1138795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358191)

D-Wave has provided neither proof nor convincing evidence that they have, or are capable of building a quantum computer. There are several theoretical limitations that experts remain skeptical have been overcome. Their demonstrations have been suspicious and not open for peer review. In sum, I will believe it when I see it.

See some skepticism here:
http://scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=306 [scottaaronson.com]
http://scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=291 [scottaaronson.com]
http://scottaaronson.com/blog/?s=d-wave [scottaaronson.com]

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24358401)

But will it run Crysis?

You must build it (2, Funny)

Jayemji (1054886) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358523)

Almost got it, but not quite. We're looking for 300 qubits, by 80 qubits, by 40 qubits.

Sounds like smoke and mirrors/snake oil BS (1)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358659)

D-Wave sounds like a classic scam to lure investors.
IF they really had a working QC, they could patent the tech and license the patents for Billions of dollars.

All they're doing is saying 'Trust me, it works, ignore the man under the table'.

I bet that in 2 or 3 years we'll be reading a story like this about D-Wave.
http://trashotron.com/agony/columns/05-21-02.htm/ [trashotron.com]

Call me when someone makes a 2048-qubit computer (1)

Myria (562655) | more than 6 years ago | (#24358709)

Because I've got a date with the Xbox public key.

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