Contemplating computing with qubits

Type: $currentPage.metadata.getDynamicField('articleType').value

Created: Jun 1 2011 - 3:35pm

Timestamp: 1306956900000

Tags: iSGTW Tags

Categories: $field: North America computer science novel computing physics and astronomy

In our virtual editorial office, Jacqui, Adrian and I have been talking about writing some articles -- maybe even a special issue -- on far future computing technologies, such as quantum computers. Emphasis there on far future.

So imagine my surprise to see HPC Wire's recent article about the first-ever sale of a quantum computer: a 128-qubit (quantum bit) chip computer designed by a company called D-Wave, purchased by Lockheed Martin.

My first thought was, "Wow! I had no idea that the technology had come so far!"

My second thought was, "Hmm, I'm not sure I believe that the technology has come that far."

According to HPC Wire, there has been some question about whether or not D-Wave is actually a quantum computer. To establish their cred, D-Wave collaborated with independent researchers to test the system, and published the results in Nature's 12 May issue.

Now, a news article in the 31 May issue of Nature explores the controversy surrounding D-Wave's claims. To summarize, given that most researchers struggle to create systems involving a handful of qubits, the claim of a functioning 128-qubit processor "raises some eyebrows."

Although the recent experiment shows that D-Wave can only be functioning via quantum effects, D-Wave's 128-qubit machine remains a black box - unknown and therefore suspicious.

So. Is it too good to be true? Time will tell. Or comments. Tell me what you think of it all in the comments!

And for a little entertainment on the side...

Nerdcore meets karaoke meets filk in this video of quantum computing scientists partying, found via Quantum Factory, the blog of the Institute for Quantum Computing: