Quantum Computers for Sale

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Quantum Computers for Sale

Postby Natural ChemE on May 28th, 2011, 1:20 pm 

128-qubit quantum computers are sold for 10 MUSD. Lockheed Martin has bought the first one.

Official website: http://www.dwavesys.com/en/products-services.html
Story on Lockheed Martin's purchase: http://venturebeat.com/2011/05/27/first ... uter-sold/

The official website assures, "No, you're not dreaming", but I'm still skeptical. Has quantum computing really come along this far already?
Natural ChemE
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Re: Quantum Computers for Sale

Postby xcthulhu on May 28th, 2011, 2:31 pm 

Natural ChemE wrote:The official website assures, "No, you're not dreaming", but I'm still skeptical. Has quantum computing really come along this far already?

Depends on what you mean by "computing", and also what you mean by "far".

I understand D-Wave's product is not a general purpose computer. It's designed to solve certain math problems. It's not Turing Machine™ compatible, so I am pretty sure you won't ever be able to play angry birds on it :(

Also, while 128 qubits is impressive, note that qubit is a telling name - it's quantum computing lingo for a two-state system, presumably the spin of an electron bound in an outer valence shell of something nice like a mercury atom. So... that's 16B of active memory. Now, it can compute in a neat, non-sequential fashion that breaks some of the usual complexity theory rules, but only with 10 qubits at a time from what I have read.

Compare that to the active memory of Babbage's analytical engine from the 19th century (ie, steampunk computing technology):
Wikipedia wrote:There was to be a store (that is, a memory) capable of holding 1,000 numbers of 50 decimal digits each (ca. 20.7 kB).
[source: Analytical Engine Wikipedia entry]

That's 1000x more active memory than the D-Wave quantum computer.

But kidding aside, IEEE Spectrum magazine had an exposé on D-Wave a year and a half ago with some rather critical remarks, including one from a Nobel laureate in physics:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/hard ... um-compute

Moreover, there's also been advances in the last 15 years in ordinary cryptography, giving rise to cryptographic protocols which are believed to be resistant to quantum code breaking (ie, Shor's algorithm). Here is a review article from 2 years ago:
http://middleware.internet2.edu/idtrust ... uantum.pdf

Re: Quantum Computers for Sale

Postby ernesto2 on May 17th, 2012, 9:32 am 

There are even video presentations of those 128 qubit computers:

Interesting stuff, to say the least. http://loans-sameday.com/

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