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A Look At Quantum Computer Manufacturer D-Wave and Its Founder

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the road-ahead dept.

Businesses 96

First time accepted submitter tpjunkie writes "Many slashdot readers will remember D-wave's announcement in 2007 of its quantum computer, an announcement met with skepticism and a good amount of scorn. However, today the company has sold quantum computers to such companies as Lockheed Martin and Google, and their computers have gone from a handful of qubits to 512 in their most recent offerings. Nature has a story including an interview with the company's founder Geordi Rose, and a look at where the company is headed and some of the difficulties it has overcome."

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96 comments

*fart* (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066117)

*fart*

Oh, excuse me.

the missing fine print (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066125)

tl;dr: tpjunkie is a paid shill for D-Wave

Re: the missing fine print (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#44066181)

I find that amusing as I doubt most people here could afford a D-wave. Not that it wouldn't be fun to have one to play with.

Re:the missing fine print (1)

tpjunkie (911544) | about a year ago | (#44066377)

I wish. I'm a broke medical intern. But hey, whatever you want to tell yourself.

Re:the missing fine print (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44068099)

I heard he was part man, part fish.

Re:the missing fine print (3, Funny)

SirSlud (67381) | about a year ago | (#44066415)

I guess D-Wave's Google Ads campaign (Buy a 10 million dollar computer! Click here!) wasn't getting good sell through rates, huh?

quantum computing (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44066173)

This technology won't be impressive until it can perform general computing tasks. Right now, it's too constrained of a technology to be useful for something as simple as web browsing. Great promise... but that's what it is: A promise.

Re:quantum computing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066231)

Why would you possibly use one for web browsing? Are you retarded?

Re:quantum computing (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about a year ago | (#44066399)

Quantum computers would be perfect for web browsing. Encryption would be meaningless, since you'd be able to access any encrypted website that someone is browsing ... perfect for corporate espionage, bank fraud, etc..

Re:quantum computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066971)

Quantum computers would be perfect for web browsing. Encryption would be meaningless, since you'd be able to access any encrypted website that someone is browsing ... perfect for corporate espionage, bank fraud, etc..

I take it that when you say etc.., you mean logging into all the pay porn sites and downloading to your hearts content?

Re:quantum computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066617)

Are you retarded?

Not retarded. Stupid. Likes to open their maw and say stupid shit as if their uninformed opinion is somehow important. Tried to tell this one that it wasn't... didn't matter to this stupid one, the ones that assertions trump facts.

Re:quantum computing (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#44067325)

Why would you possibly use one for web browsing? Are you retarded?

That sentiment reminds me of how people were ridiculed for suggesting that people in the future might want computers in their homes.
After all, the estimated world need for computers was ... six.

Re:quantum computing (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about a year ago | (#44066293)

Obviously you don't know what you are talking about. Why don't you use Titan BlueGene/Q, Tianhe-2 or another top 500 supercomputer for web browsing? Like the life is revolving around a f... web browser. Yeah! All those f... supercomputers are useless until you can have one on your desk to surf porn sites.

Re:quantum computing (2)

manicb (1633645) | about a year ago | (#44067979)

I've used a BlueGene/Q. It sucks for web browsing and gaming, the processors are only 1.6 GHz and it doesn't even run Windows ;-)

Implementing MPI scalable parallelism into Firefox would actually be a pretty interesting exercise for somebody with the time on their hands...

Re:quantum computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066379)

The research into quantum computing is using done with the goal of a universal quantum Turing machine, which would, by proof, run classical algorithms in addition to quantum ones.

Re:quantum computing (5, Informative)

spyke252 (2679761) | about a year ago | (#44067137)

The research into quantum computing is using done with the goal of a universal quantum Turing machine, which would, by proof, run classical algorithms in addition to quantum ones.

Not the D-Wave. There's two branches in current quantum computation: General quantum computation, which is still stuck at the implementation stage (of which languages like QCL derive) and D-Wave's computation (which, admittedly, is geared toward quantum annealing and no other quantum procedures, and is therefore not a general quantum computer).

If I were to think a few years down the road, the path D-Wave is taking would culminate in chips that do specific things, such as perform quantum communication protocols, but only those things that were hardwired into the chip. It's hard to think of how a quantum operating system or a quantum programming language would operate under such a model. The general quantum computing path, for which four major quantum programming languages have been written already (QCL, LANQ, CQPL, and QML), if possible, would allow for Turing-Complete machines.

Re:quantum computing (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#44066653)

This technology won't be impressive until it can perform general computing tasks. Right now, it's too constrained of a technology to be useful for something as simple as web browsing. Great promise... but that's what it is: A promise.

There are lots of specialized computers that do one thing really well, yet still aren't great at general computing tasks... like GPUs and DSPs. For that matter, the CPU in your hard drive may not be nearly powerful enough to run a web browser, yet it's still extremely useful for its intended purpose.

Not every computer development is meant to make Firefox run faster.

Re:quantum computing (2)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#44067357)

There are lots of specialized computers that do one thing really well, yet still aren't great at general computing tasks... like GPUs and DSPs.

And even analogue computers, giving a near immediate result where a digital or GP computer would have to do complex calculations.

Re:quantum computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44069701)

Not every computer development is meant to make Firefox run faster.

Given that the rate at which Mozilla makes Firefox run slower is far greater the rate at which the industry makes things run faster, I think that's a losing battle anyway.

Re:quantum computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44067789)

as simple as web browsing

There is nothing simple about rendering a web page. Not even going to speak about all the OTHER crap a browser is expected to do.

too secretive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066177)

Too secretive, too scammy. IBM should wreck them.

But can I install Gentoo on it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066191)

INSTALL GENTOO.

Not a QC! (5, Informative)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about a year ago | (#44066213)

The summary is saying it is a quantum computer because it sold these to Lockheed Martin and Google. Please. stop that shit. They are pretty fast computers, however nobody has proven it is quantum computers. Even the CTO at D-Wave is not able to demonstrate it and he just doesn't care saying it is damn fast and that's all matter for him.

Slashdot should stop advertising D-Wave computers as QC until it has been proven.

  • http://www.npr.org/2013/05/22/185532608/quantum-or-not-new-supercomputer-is-certainly-something-else [npr.org]
    ”What we do is build computers,” Rose says, “and if we can build the fastest computers the world has ever known, you can call them whatever you like, and I’ll be happy.”
  • http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=1400 [scottaaronson.com]
    "Instead, journalists have preferred a paper released this week by Catherine McGeoch and Cong Wang, which reports that quantum annealing running on the D-Wave machine outperformed the CPLEX optimization package running on a classical computer by a factor of ~3600, on Ising spin problems involving 439 bits. Wow! That sounds awesome! But before rushing to press, let’s pause to ask ourselves: how can we reconcile this with the USC group’s result of no speedup?"

Re:Not a QC! (4, Insightful)

tpjunkie (911544) | about a year ago | (#44066363)

I submitted the article. I called it a QC, because if you read TFS, there are a couple of papers linked indicating that there seems to be evidence that the machine is functioning as an adiabatic quantum computer. Of course, these results have been challenged. However, for the purposes of a summary, it seemed in my mind, ok to call it what the manufacturer does, which is an adiabatic quantum computer.

Re:Not a QC! (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year ago | (#44066647)

Those papers don't indicate it's a quantum computer either. It's a computer that makes calculations using "quantum effects", as the company claim on the few places they have to be honest.

Re:Not a QC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44067109)

A computer directly using quantum effects is a quantum computer. The problem is that 90+% of news about quantum computers is about much more general computers that are making some sort of attempt at an equivalent to a quantum Turing machine. This thing is much more analogous to the analog computers that proceed general purpose digital computers.

Re:Not a QC! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44067257)

A computer directly using quantum effects is a quantum computer.

Transistors directly use quantum effects to work, yet we don't call desktop computers "quantum computers".

Most of the interest around "quantum computers" exists because there's good reason to believe that they can yield improvements in the asymptotic time complexity in solving some problems (the mathematical definition would be something like "can solve BQP problems efficiently"). Before Shor's algorithm, almost no one cared about quantum computing.

So, if all you have is a special-purpose computer like D-Wave's, which just uses some quantum effects to calculate something, but you're not sure it can solve BQP problems efficiently, it's debatable whether it should be called "quantum computer".

Re:Not a QC! (5, Informative)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44068031)

Transistors directly use quantum effects to work, yet we don't call desktop computers "quantum computers".

The transistors in the CPU in your desktop computer are IGFETs (insulated gate field effect transistors). The principle of operation of this device is that moving charge on the gate can enhance or deplete the number of mobile electrons in the source to drain channel under the gate and cause it to turn on or off using an electric field effect which is not considered a quantum effect.

To be fair, at the scales that modern transistors operate, there are some interesting quantum effects. Most are considered as "bad" (causing problems with the "classical" operation of the transistor by tunneling charge or changing thresholds), but there are a few things like strained silicon that are used to improve performance (which used to create quantum containment and effective mass modifications to make small geometry operation more feasible), but these quantum effects aren't intrinsic to the operation of a generic IGFET (just a FET that's really small).

There are of course stuff in your desktop computer that intrinsically rely on quantum effects to work. For example, the flash memory (uses tunneling to move charge in and out of an isolated control gate). However, there are many other things that are similar to the transistor's use of QM effects like the optical drive (solid state laser uses bandgaps to get a certain frequency) and the disc drive (uses the GMR effect which is related to QM electron spin transport), but that's really just to make stuff work when it is really small, not intrinsic to the operation.

In the end, it's all physics and computers use physics and when you make things really small the quantum nature of physics must be accounted for, but it can be taken advantage of too. As for calling a quantum adiabatic computer a "quantum computer" I agree that would be a no. It technically relies on tunneling, so it's sort of like a flash memory in that respect (it's basic theory of operation requires a non-classical QM effect which is different than a transistor).

As to whether D-Wave actually does or doesn't implement a QM adiabatic algorithm, or perhaps just uses QM tunneling to improve a more classical annealing implementation speed and result, and if that actually makes any practical difference, is another question.

Re:Not a QC! (2)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year ago | (#44068309)

Transistors directly use quantum effects to work, yet we don't call desktop computers "quantum computers".

The transistors in the CPU in your desktop computer are IGFETs (insulated gate field effect transistors). The principle of operation of this device is that moving charge on the gate can enhance or deplete the number of mobile electrons in the source to drain channel under the gate and cause it to turn on or off using an electric field effect which is not considered a quantum effect.

I think the point is that a transistor does this through a quantum effects. It works due to the energy levels of the semiconductor, which are definitely a quantum mechanical in nature. You could do the same with a vacuum tube, so there is nothing inherent in the effect of a transistor that is quantum mechanical, but the the level that flash memory is quantum mechanical (the effect can be obtained differently, but in this case it isn't), so is a transistor.

Re:flash memory and tunnellinh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44068771)

For the record - in flash memory what people refer to as 'tunnelling' might better be referred to as "electrical breakdown of a dielectric" ... People can call it tunnelling if they want to - but ask me this - if it is tunnelling and not electric breakdown (in the old fashioned classical sense) why are write cycles limited?? I know which of those two phenonoma damages materials in the long run - and it isn;t tunnelling..

Re:flash memory and tunnellinh (1)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44071837)

For the record - in flash memory what people refer to as 'tunnelling' might better be referred to as "electrical breakdown of a dielectric" ... People can call it tunnelling if they want to - but ask me this - if it is tunnelling and not electric breakdown (in the old fashioned classical sense) why are write cycles limited?? I know which of those two phenonoma damages materials in the long run - and it isn;t tunnelling..

In actuality, physics is always involved, so since a flash memory is an actual device, rather than a theoretical device, both processs are happening , but my understanding is that di-electric breakdown isn't currently the predominant process.

The difference between di-electric breakdown and tunnelling is that di-electric breakdown creates semi-permanent electrically conductive paths through the insulator where tunnelling does not, but statistically leaves some charge trapped in the insulator. The primary limitation of cells on current flash processes are oxide degradation due to the accumulation of **trapped charge** reducing the F-N tunnelling efficiency and also impairing the action of the control gate. In contrast di-electric breakdown will over time increase the amount of **charge leakage** through the insulator and will eventually make it difficult for the cell to retain information, but on current proceseses, that effect is smaller than the charge trapping issue.

FWIW, There has been some effort to try to develop a way re-anneal the oxide to reduce/eliminate the trapped charge issue (e.g., by locally heating it), so eventually that make the di-electric breakdown process the limiting factor, but that is still a bit researchy...

Re:Not a QC! (1)

Big_Breaker (190457) | about a year ago | (#44070995)

Everytime an electron passes from the metal interconnect to silicon in a semiconductor a quantum process is occuring. The electron has to pass a thin but but carrier empty region by quantum tunnelling because the metal either fills or empties the region of the interface. So the electron has to do a "quantum jump" so to speak. So basically every semiconductor is quantum to a degree and in an instrinic way.

Re:Not a QC! (1)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44072207)

Everytime an electron passes from the metal interconnect to silicon in a semiconductor a quantum process is occuring. The electron has to pass a thin but but carrier empty region by quantum tunnelling because the metal either fills or empties the region of the interface. So the electron has to do a "quantum jump" so to speak. So basically every semiconductor is quantum to a degree and in an instrinic way.

Although everything has a quantum component when it is small (because quantum=physics and everything has to follow the laws of physics), this "tunnelling" aspect isn't really important part of the function of the IGFET as it is currently used.

Sure, with a metal/semi-conductor interface, there is a "depletion-region" which creates a potential barrier that needs to be overcome by electrons. As I understand it, the potential provided by the power-rails to switch the device are more than enough to overcome this potential barrier so this pretty much looks like an resistive (ohmic) contact and the tunnelling isn't an intrinsic part of the operation. This "depletion-region" is mostly interesting as a function of reduced switching speed and limitation of the saturation current through the channel causing more leakage in static operation (the "bad" stuff).

If we didn't provide enough potential by the power-rails to cross this potential barrier of the depletion region formed by a metal-semiconductor junction, then any charge that wanted to cross it would have to tunnel and that would be an intrinsic part of the operation of the device. The tunnelling current would be very small relative to the larger currents provided by the power-rails that are in common use today and would result in really slow transistors.

Re:Not a QC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44068067)

Transistors directly use quantum effects to work, yet we don't call desktop computers "quantum computers".

No, they indirectly use (or in some cases deal with/avoid) quantum effects. You don't need quantum mechanics to understand how transistors work. Yes, quantum mechanics can be involved in some of the material science and the effects can be seen in some cases (and need to be worked around sometimes), but that would be true of just about any thing that involves chemistry, and hence would would be a useless qualifier.

Directly using means using and taking advantage of things like states that can be operated on arbitrary superposition of states, and including effects like entanglement.

I'm not trying to argue D-wave is doing so, and of course such computers will not be great at Shor's algorithm, and likely won't have the option to run any newly developed algorithms that require more general sequences of operations. Not all of us working on such systems are trying to make something that runs Shor's algorithm.

Re:Not a QC! (5, Funny)

Arkh89 (2870391) | about a year ago | (#44067213)

Let's make every one happy :
D-Wave = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} \Psi_{classical computer} + \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} \Psi_{quantum computer}
But, PLEASE, don't measure it, seriously...

Re:Not a QC! (1)

manicb (1633645) | about a year ago | (#44067987)

Ah, the moment I run out of mod points...

Re:Not a QC! (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about a year ago | (#44068175)

Funny!

Re:Not a QC! (1)

phaunt (1079975) | about a year ago | (#44068497)

Please, please use a command like \mathit or \text around text used in maths mode. I see $italics$ far too often still in papers and presentations.

So, you should e.g. write: $\Psi_\mathit{classical computer}$

See also: http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?label=mathstext [tex.ac.uk]

Re:Not a QC! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44068507)

Let's make every one happy :
D-Wave = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} \Psi_{classical computer} + \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} \Psi_{quantum computer}
But, PLEASE, don't measure it, seriously...

Why not? All you have to do is ph{#`%${%&`+'${`%&INDETERMINATE CARRIER

Not fast either (1)

amaurea (2900163) | about a year ago | (#44068283)

The one thing the D-Wave computer is good at is solving the "D-Wave problem", or things that can be expressed in terms of that problem. However, even at this, its speciality, it is 12000 times slower than a normal single-core computer. The reason why some were reporting that the D-wave computer was faster than classical computers at this problem was simply that they used a very inefficient program to do this.
http://www.archduke.org/stuff/d-wave-comment-on-comparison-with-classical-computers/ [archduke.org]

So basically: There might be some interesting things going on with the D-wave computer, but none of these are practically useful. As far as I understand it, if somebody replaced the insides of a D-wave computer with off-the shelf computer parts, then you wouldn't be able to tell the difference, except it would be much too fast unless artificially slowed down. That makes it hard to see why anybody would pay millions for a computer like that. It also doesn't help that D-wave is completely opaque about the science and engineering behind the computer.

It is not fast either (2)

amaurea (2900163) | about a year ago | (#44068291)

The one thing the D-Wave computer is good at is solving the "D-Wave problem", or things that can be expressed in terms of that problem. However, even at this, its speciality, it is 12000 times slower than a normal single-core computer. The reason why some were reporting that the D-wave computer was faster than classical computers at this problem was simply that they used a very inefficient program to do this.
http://www.archduke.org/stuff/d-wave-comment-on-comparison-with-classical-computers/ [archduke.org]

So basically: There might be some interesting things going on with the D-wave computer, but none of these are practically useful. As far as I understand it, if somebody replaced the insides of a D-wave computer with off-the shelf computer parts, then you wouldn't be able to tell the difference, except it would be much too fast unless artificially slowed down. That makes it hard to see why anybody would pay millions for a computer like that. It also doesn't help that D-wave is completely opaque about the science and engineering behind the computer.

not to sound picky (4, Informative)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#44066287)

im not sure how best to phrase this, but its not a quantum computer in the absolute sense. Its more of a computer in a quantum state that acts as an annealer. all it does is find the global minimum of a given objective function over a given set of candidate solutions. companies that buy it should at least be given full disclosure that its basically a ten million dollar math co-processor...one where depending upon the solver and the equation, mileage may seriously vary. traditional computing has been conjectured to be, at the cost of the D-Wave, not only faster but cheaper [ieee.org] .

Re:not to sound picky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066411)

I'm pretty sure the people at Google and NASA know what they were buying without your "help".

Re:not to sound picky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066511)

If NASA can crash a probe on mars, they can be scammed in buying a fake quantum computer. They won't be proud of that decision.

Re:not to sound picky (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year ago | (#44066661)

Yeah, politicians never make bad* decisions. How dare the GP claim otherwise.

* Bad for the people they represent, not for their pockets, of course.

Re:not to sound picky (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44067173)

Google's purchases are decided by politicians? Since when? Since, you know, Google's the one who bought it for the collaboration with NASA.

Re:not to sound picky (1)

SirSlud (67381) | about a year ago | (#44067355)

I realize you're cherry picking the NASA buy, but I'm pretty sure Google is acting on self interests alone. Even if you choose to believe that NASA picked up the phone one day, and a bunch of politicians on the other line said, "Hey NASA, buy this thing from Canada, cause that would be awesome!" I bet that kind of simplistic worldview makes their scientists and mathematicians feel awesome.

Re:not to sound picky (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about a year ago | (#44068125)

I'm pretty sure the people at Google and NASA know what they were buying without your "help".

He's not writing the above to "help" NASA or Google. He's writing it to help his fellow geeks understand something complex that is typically not part of a geek's knowledge set.

I found his comment interesting and informative and judging from the moderation it received, so did others.

Re:not to sound picky (1)

csrster (861411) | about a year ago | (#44068489)

I like Scott Aaronson's response to this point:

My reaction, I confess, is simple. I don’t care—I actually told them this—if the former Pope Benedict has ended his retirement to become D-Wave’s new marketing director. I don’t care if the Messiah has come to Earth on a flaming chariot, not to usher in an age of peace but simply to spend $10 million on D-Wave’s new Vesuvius chip. And if you imagine that I’ll ever care about such things, then you obviously don’t know much about me. I’ll tell you what: if peer pressure is where it’s at, then come to me with the news that Umesh Vazirani, or Greg Kuperberg, or Matthias Troyer is now convinced, based on the latest evidence, that D-Wave’s chip asymptotically outperforms simulated annealing in a fair comparison, and does so because of quantum effects. Any one such scientist’s considered opinion would mean more to me than 500,000 business deals.

(from http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=1400 [scottaaronson.com] )

Re:not to sound picky (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44066751)

We should require labels that say it contains quantum modified chips.

I'll believe it when I see it (4, Interesting)

Myria (562655) | about a year ago | (#44067127)

Wake me when someone makes a 2048-qubit quantum computer that can run Shor's algorithm. The Xbox public key and I have some unfinished business.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44067259)

Is it really necessary to have the same number of qubit as the problem, tho?

Here we are talking about factoring a number that is the product of two large probable-primes, and the sum of their binary lengths is 2048 so the numbers themselves are approximately ~1024 bits each.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it (1)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44068115)

Is it really necessary to have the same number of qubit as the problem, tho?

Unfortunately, I think it's worse than that.

The "quantum" part of Shor's algorithm factoring N involves a period finding operation that requires an input and output of k-qubits where k is approximately 2logN+1. A simplistic implementation to factor a 2048-bit number would be minimally 2x2048+1 input and the same number of output so about 8194 qubits (I don't think you can share the input and output for the quantum fourier transform computation step). That also presupposes that you can change the circuit connecting these qubits into N configurations check each. We've got a long way to go before we are quantum factoring...

Re:not to sound picky (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44067845)

a ten million dollar math co-processor.

If you read some of the articles about the company, they're not just selling hardware. They enter into contracts for long-term partnerships with these companies, offering to keep them at the leading edge of quantum-or-whatever-it-is computing during that period.

They're probably going to get the 1024 then 2048-bit devices, and certainly whatever the next thing is they come up with.

For a company like Lockheed, spending $2-3M a year to be probably on the forefront of this technology is far less than they spent on early computers in the 50's and 60's. If it gives them any competitive advantage, it's money well spent.

D-Wave will turn out to be whatever it is, but it's hard to find another company that's closer to commercializing quantum computing.

Re:not to sound picky (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year ago | (#44068369)

D-Wave will turn out to be whatever it is, but it's hard to find another company that's closer to commercializing quantum computing.

Given that, at best, it is only sort of a quantum computer, and definitely not what is normally meant with the phrase, and at worst in no way a quantum computer, I would say that there is a good chance that Bobs Banana Import is as close to commercializing quantum computing as this company is. It might still be true that nobody is closer than them, in the same sense as it is true that no company has a bigger presence on Jupiter than them.

Doesn't mean it is not money well spent by Lockheed et al., it just means that calling it a quantum computer perhaps wasn't completely true.

Re:not to sound picky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44070417)

Let's not forget the second-order effects. People with interesting ideas in the field might gravitate towards D-Wave. It may still turn out to be a very nice case of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Re:not to sound picky (1)

amaurea (2900163) | about a year ago | (#44068317)

"Conjectured" is too weak a statement here. It has been shown that a single-core normal classical CPU running a modestly optimized program is 12000 times faster than the D-wave computer at its speciality, the "D-wave problem":
http://www.archduke.org/stuff/d-wave-comment-on-comparison-with-classical-computers/ [archduke.org]

nothing to add beyond my previous comments (1)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#44066335)

funny thing (5, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44066409)

With quantum computers you can tell if they exist or if they work but not both. The moment you determine both it becomes a regular computer. Or a brick.

Re:funny thing (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about a year ago | (#44066551)

Damn it, I let my mod points expire.

Re:funny thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44069313)

Or a bowl of petunias. or a sperm whale...

Re:funny thing (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about a year ago | (#44069333)

Ye can nae change the laws of physics, Jim!

Paid advertisement masquerading as news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066413)

This is a marketing scam. DWave doesn't have a quantum computer, at best they have a weakly quantum annealer. They could never even show that they have a single working qubit in their machine.

This article is not worthy of Nature, frankly it is deeply unethical for a peer-reviewed journal to publish such misleading crap. As an expert in the field I would expect to find this kind of bullshit in a tabloid or in a slashvertisement at best.

The Nature Publishing Group will feel the heat on this one, I hope they at least got a lot of money from DWave.

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066453)

As an expert in the field

In what field? Raunchiest B.O.? Worst halitosis? Most smegma in a foreskin? Largest number of extra chins? Smallest dick?

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066525)

Solid state quantum computing

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066591)

Solid state quantum computing

I, too, am an expert is solid state quantum computing. I am also an expert in rectal excrement, so I can say with absolute authority that you are completely full of shit. I could show you a proof, but then you'd cease to exist.

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066625)

The sad thing is the four previous ACs are the same person! But I'm not. Or maybe I am? I'm really bored.

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066697)

Nice trick?

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066671)

I am also an expert in rectal excrement

That actually implies that your head is full of shit, since you must have had to stare at a bunch of shit textbooks and sit through shit classes at your shit university for a shit degree in Coprophagia.

Yeah, don't try doing any proofs there any time mate.

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066769)

Shit I'm horny

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44066709)

Indeed. Competent fraudsters, obviously, but that is all they have. If they had a real quantum computer, at the very least some spectacular benchmarks would have been forthcoming. Oh, wait, these are easy to verify and would give buyers and competitors legal claims if proven wrong.

It is amazing how easy to manipulate people that should know better are in this day and age. Historically, you would claim "magic". Now you claim "quantum computer", and suddenly many people lose all rationality. Pathetic.

Re: Paid advertisement masquerading as news (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#44067439)

Nature News isn't peer reviewed. Unless you consider the editor reading the journalist's article peer review because they're both journalists.

Re:Paid advertisement masquerading as news (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44068505)

This article is not worthy of Nature, frankly it is deeply unethical for a peer-reviewed journal to publish such misleading crap.

Hahahaha! Yes. What you say is true, well the latter half anyway. Nature *loves* the contraversial articles, so anything designed to stir up strong feelings and strongly worded letters and articles is just up their street. In other words, they are actually professional trolls (and not in the more modern usage of trolls meaning simply being a dick until you're banned).

The Nature Publishing Group will feel the heat on this one, I hope they at least got a lot of money from DWave.

Of course they'll feel the heat. Or more to the point, people will read it rant about it and reply citing the papers and dragging more people into the fray and upping their profile and impact factor. Seriously, D-Wave wouldn't pay for this. FIrstly, NPG wouldn't risk something so stupid (you actually have to declare any conflict of interests when publishing anyway with NPG) and secondly and more importantly, it's already gold as far as Nature is concerned.

FWIW, the closest I've got to Nature is articles in NPG's subsidiary Nature journals, the Nature: Foo series, so I'm somewhat familiar with the way they operate. Of course, this is the internet so I could be making up this paragraph just like the stuff before... :)

Quantum Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066505)

I'm a skeptic.

This article indicates (to me) that these D-Wave devices are simply an analog computer implementing a simulated annealing algorithm. Such algorithms are described as "simulated annealing" because they use an approach analogous to annealing. It's no surprise that a physical (analog) computer could be constructed to generalize this approach, esp. when the analog computer contains a giant cooling unit. It's also no surprise to anyone that's studied optimization that the answer rarely converges to the optimal solution (the referenced article or one of it's links indicated this type of computer found the optimal solution for protein folding .13% of the time--13 times out of 10000).

If they can show some advantage over standard computing to formulating this class of problem with an analog computer, I'll at least be willing to admit there's something to see here. Until then..."move along".

I do not think that word means what you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066583)

It is *extremely* controversial to call D-Wave's machine a Quantum Computer. Essentially no academic quantum computing theorists or experimentalists believe any of D-Wave's machines to be capable of solving *any* problems faster than classical computers can, nor has D-Wave actually exhibited any problems for which its machine is actually faster.

Re:I do not think that word means what you think (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44066677)

It is not controversial at all, it is a flat-out lie. This thing is not a quantum-computer at all. Unfortunately, there are enough suckers that think they are a lot smarter than they are and that have too much money. D-Wave is not the first set of fraudsters to work in the high-cost area. It is also quite telling that they tout their sales as their biggest accomplishment, and not anything their machine can do that quadratic factor faster than a conventional machine. As a quantum computer would be able to. Because it cannot do it.

Re:I do not think that word means what you think (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44068385)

Whatever it is, I find it interesting in that however it does whatever it does it apparently works differently than any other computing machine. It's that black-box weirdness that has kept me following D-Wave for the past six years.

(Please note I don't know a damn thing about any of this; I do like a bit of mystery and odd phenomena. Helps avoid ennui, and keeps the "man will never fly" demons from my door.)

Re:I do not think that word means what you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44076785)

not anything their machine can do that quadratic factor faster than a conventional machine.

Maybe because they directly know and admit that it is not a general purpose quantum computer or otherwise cannot implement Shor's algorithm?

It is not controversial at all, it is a flat-out lie.

Only if you use a really narrow definition of a quantum computer, one that even they don't claim to be using.

Re:I do not think that word means what you think (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44077535)

The understood definition of "Quantum Computer" is pretty clear, and it requires entanglement. Using if for anything else in a commercial or scientific setting is a lie.

Selling crap to suckers is no big accomplishment (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44066651)

It is being done all the time. What is this fraudulent nonsense even doing here on /. Was this not already debunked enough?

Re:Selling crap to suckers is no big accomplishmen (1)

oGMo (379) | about a year ago | (#44069781)

It is being done all the time. What is this fraudulent nonsense even doing here on /. Was this not already debunked enough?

No, it's not debunked; that is, no one has shown it not to be what's claimed. However it has been shown that even if it is what it claims it's no better than an optimized classical simulated version. It's like someone claims they have a quantum chicken, and it may be quantum chicken, but it still can't cross the road faster than a fast non-quantum chicken.

Re:Selling crap to suckers is no big accomplishmen (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44075169)

That is not what I meant was debunked. What I meant (being a Computer Scientist and not a Physicist) was the implicit claim that this performs massively better at some computations than classical computers for the same money. In the literal sense, you are right, of course, D-Wave is very careful what they claim, the fraudulent claims only turn up in peoples expectations.

Guts & Determination (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#44066705)

Geordi Rose has more of this than anyone I have heard of. More power to him.

May it inspire more innovators!

Re:Guts & Determination (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44066893)

He is determined to suck on taxpayers money with fraud.

Re:Guts & Determination (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#44067117)

How does selling to Google & Lockheed constitute sucking, since they evaluated the DWave and then bought it in a free market transaction.

Re:Guts & Determination (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44068443)

How does selling to Google & Lockheed constitute sucking, since they evaluated the DWave and then bought it in a free market transaction.

well the fraud portion is that they thought the machine was any good for a problem they have and not beaten by desktop machinery in what it is supposed to do best...

lockheed billed it to government projects. neither company is willing to admit that they spend millions on shit - or are hoping the next gazillion million version will actually do something. adding units doesn't help at all either since that doesn't turn it into a real quantum computer.

Quantum Computer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44067009)

If they cannot execute Shor's Algorithm for factorization it isn't a quantum computer, and I haven't seen anything that can solve Shor's algorithm in a single operation so it isn't a quantum computer. It really is that simple.

Re:Quantum Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44068113)

There are other algorithms being researched besides Shor's... it isn't the end all of quantum computers.

Judging by the comments (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about a year ago | (#44067545)

The best summary of everyone's opinion is that the D-wave is and is not a quantum computer all at the same time. Now how could that be possible?

One important unanswered question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44067687)

can it run Crysis?

Use for Bitcoin mining? (1)

andyteleco (1090569) | about a year ago | (#44068023)

I'm surprised no one has suggested it yet...

Re:Use for Bitcoin mining? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44068415)

I'm surprised no one has suggested it yet...

d-wave can't be used for bitcoin mining. or can, but extremely slow.

a real quantum computer could be.

Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44068103)

I don't think anyone really has a problem with d-wave showing itself to have hardware useful to address real world problems.

The problem is marketing wheezles spewing meaningless unqualified figures.

An actual honest to god 512 qbit quantum computer has a search space of every atom in 1x10^75 universes.

Geordi and Quantum Computing? (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44068839)

It's simple, just invert the polarity of the tachyon beam!

sounds familiar (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44070509)

Oh boo hoo. Try being the CEO of Butterfly Labs while they were announcing their amazing new ASIC processing devices that would run on 2 watts and do 2,500 MH/s. The bitcoin community tore him a new ass once they found out he's an ex-felon who used to help run a fake foreign online lottery scam. It turns out they are dishonest, lying assholes because the device is at least real but 33 watts, 4500 MH/s in reality. Also, they purposely deceived everyone into placing early pre-orders by lying about their release date to appear better than their competition then delayed shipping by about 8+ months.
In both cases, with both companies, you just have to ignore it all until you release a proven, tested product. Then don't forget to shove it in everyone's faces.

Business background my ass (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44070539)

"A cheque for Can$4,059.50 (US$3,991) from Farris let him buy a laptop and printer to produce a business proposal"
Where the hell was he shopping? That could have been easily $450. Great way to start a business, wasting money on overpriced crap. This guy must be a financial genius!
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