## A Working Quantum Computer in 3 Years? 292

Posted
by
timothy

from the not-with-my-quanta-you-don't dept.

from the not-with-my-quanta-you-don't dept.

prostoalex writes

*"Vancouver, BC-based D-Wave Systems got $17.5 mln from Draper Fisher Jurvetson to work on a preliminary version of a quantum computer, Technology Review reports. Delivery date? Within three years: 'It won't be a fully functional quantum computer of the sort long envisioned; but D-Wave is on track to produce a special-purpose, "noisy" piece of quantum hardware that could solve many of the physical-simulation problems that stump today's computers, says David Meyer, a mathematician working on quantum algorithms at the University of California, San Diego.'"*
## Quantum Computing... (Score:5, Funny)

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:5, Funny)

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:5, Funny)

Itwill, unfortunately, you'll never be able to observe it being played, just see the end result...QC Shell>run DukeNukem

The end boss was really tough.

QC Shell>_

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:5, Funny)

Yeah, but will it play Duke Nukem Forever??More importantly, will it be able to vertically integrate with a scalable ecommerce solution to provide dynamic interaction for the customer and enterprise??

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:2, Funny)

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:2)

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:2)

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:2)

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:2)

Surely you weren't expecting a yes/no answer...

## Re:Quantum Computing... (Score:2, Informative)

from the wikipedia article

"A yottahertz (YHz) is a unit of frequency equal to a septillion hertz or a thousand zettahertz. "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yottahertz [wikipedia.org]

10^24

## Mathematician (Score:5, Insightful)

## Re:Mathematician (Score:3, Insightful)

I have nothing against mathematicians. I just don't think they are the right ones to predict when we will have _working_ quantum computers.

## Re:Total Agreeness (Score:3, Informative)

## If they build a QC will they say... (Score:4, Funny)

## Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:3, Insightful)

Too bad that's not how it works. These computers will still have to process data the same as any other processor and all the threat behind magically decoding 128-bit encryption is pure fluff. We are talking about another way of computing, for sure, but it is just another step in the evolution of computing systems rather than a brand new magic bullet for encryption maniacs.

It is also unclear why people want to build a "quantum computer" when it seems that simply putting it on a peripheral board and using it as a separate calculation machine seems to be a much more straightforward application of the device than trying to cram a whole computer with these chips.

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2, Informative)

when it seems that simply putting it on a peripheral board and using it as a separate calculation machine seems to be a much more straightforward application of the device than trying to cram a whole computer with these chips.I think that will be the idea. Unfortunately we can't even do that!

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:5, Insightful)

Actually things like superdense coding and quantum teleportation have been verfied in the lab. So this stuff isn't exactly nonsense.

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2, Insightful)

"But now it's actual science and proven."We have got to remember that no matter how much we like to think that science can prove something it can't the heart of the scientific theory is to disprove things in other words to be scientific a claim must be falsifiable [wikipedia.org]. Good theories remain just that, theories. Bad theories get falsified and thrown away. The quantum theories are good and so have endured thus far.

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

When I said "it's actual science and proven" I wasn't talking about if it's falsifiable or not. Also a falsifiable theory doe

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

falsifiableis a subset oftestable. I think there may be theories which are testable butnotfalsifiable, but are isolated and pathological. When it actually comes down to doing science, however, I think many scientists take a utilitarian approach: howusefulis Such-And-Such Theory for computing this or that quantity?## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

proven, where I would have been happier with the word "demonstrated". Certainly the QM phenomena that we're talking about have been demonstrated, and that's a sufficient condition for us to take QC seriously.With regards falsification, I'm not sure I agree that "Actually all theories are falsifiable". Theories that involve messing with reality can easily be made unfalsifiable, such as "we're all in a big computer game", a la The Matrix. There would

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:3, Informative)

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

Yeah... quantum was a buzzword in 1905. But now it's actual science and proven. Quantum mechanics and QFT are two of the most successful theories to date.Agree that quantum theory is one of the more solids theories we have. However, building a quantum computer is more a matter of engineering, than just pure science.

For example, Newtown figured out all the theory we needed to go to the Moon, but it took engineers few hundred years to actually accomplish this.

Don't underestimate the engineering pro

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:3, Informative)

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

It's conversations like this that make me wish I majored in theoretical physics rather than computer engineering.

## There *is* conflict between QM and GR (Score:2)

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

It is, indeed, somewhat spooky that quantum bits can influence each other instantaneously over arbitrarily long distances (in case of entaglement), but for this "influence" to be used for any kind of useful infrormation transfer, transmission of classical information is required, thus limiting the effective transfer speed at lightAs a layman, I don't understand this. If I fly to another star system with a code book and a quantum radio set, can't you send me information over it instantaneously?

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

Don't confuse engineering with science, the latter being largely concerned with measurable predictions and falsifiability. GR is also a remarkably good theory, and has been tested (according to some claims) to as many decimal places as QED.

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:3, Informative)

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:5, Insightful)

alwaysbe a need for classical computers.## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

I did go there to

checkfacts, but I'm [allegedly] a physicist, dammit! And besides, do you really want to see Windows XP Quantum Mechanical Edition? Schroedinger's Blue Screen of Death?Well, do you?!

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here. "Always" is a pretty long time (hence emphasis).

Again, I'm probably missing your point, but what about healthcare, transport, communications, lifestyle, construction, entertainment, etc., etc.? One thing classical computers are good at is automation. How would

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

Again, I'm probably missing your point, but what about healthcare, transport, communications, lifestyle, construction, entertainment, etc., etc.? One thing classical computers are good at is automation. How would a quantum computer improve on a classical one in this respect?The simple honest answer is that no one really knows, because quantum computing algorithm development is still in its infancy. That we have so many profound developments already (namely the enormous impact that the quantum simulation

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:5, Informative)

With a (good enough) quantum computer it is possible to factor large numbers (Shor's algorithm) and to break various public key cryptography. (RSA, Elliptic curve crypto). So I would say that it is clear why people want to build one.

(Though it is expected to take a while before the quantum computers are good enough. A few years ago they built one that was able to factor the number 15...)

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:3, Insightful)

Yes, the pressing desire to read the mail of those people who haven't switched algorithms. Obviously this is worth spending billions on.Or how about being able to solve the hardest math problems we have ever been able to think up as a species in mere seconds?

Shor's algorithm is great because we have been working on trying to understand the primes since the dawn of mathematics. You also dont seem to understand that once this takes hold, there will be no more public key algorithms. PKE is based on th

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

PKE is based on the idea that some math problems are harder to solve than to verify. Given a large enough quantum computer, that really is no longer the case.The statement "quantum computers can break any public-key encryption" is probably not true.

For example, there are PK encryption schemes based on lattice problems (e.g., Ajtai-Dwork). No quantum algorithms are known for these lattice problems, despite lots of effort. Therefore, PKE may still be a viable approach even in the presence of quantum comp

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

Sure, nobody may have an algorigthm to crack your digital signatures now, but there is considerable risk that one could emerge without warning, and anything you've transmitted in the past could have been saved and then cracked.

Some secrets only need to remain secret for a few days/weeks/months - nobody will worry about those. Some secrets need to re

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

Sure, nobody may have an algorigthm to crack your digital signatures now, but there is considerable risk that one could emerge without warning, and anything you've transmitted in the past could have been saved and then cracked.This is true of public-key encryption, today, even with quantum computers out of the picture. An efficient factoring algorithm may be one clever insight away from reality.

Hell, someone could prove that P=NP "without warning," and

thenpublic-key crypto will really be impossible.T

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2)

Together with quantum computers comes quantum criptography. Infact, the second one already exists in a very realibly form, although it is not commercially viable. It uses an initial data transfer to create a kind of public key. it is made on-the-fly and activelly by both sides, but it is still a kind public key.QC is more of a key-exchange technology than a form of encryption. However it has a huge limitation - a physical link between whowever is attempting to communicate. Right now that means a fiber o

## Re:Quantum is just another buzzword (Score:2, Interesting)

Second, we all know that we are pretty far away from shors factorization algorithm, but at least with the technology that dwave is using (cooper pairs in superconductors), there is a chance of hitting that point sometime in the future.

NMR computers are fun to play with, and are pretty cheap for the number of qubits you can use, but will n

## Random? (Score:2)

Once you start putting any criteria on the number that comes out, doesn't that make it not random anymore?

## Re:Random? (Score:2)

If I am generating a random sequence of digits:

1112481

and

9999999

Are equally likely. In this case neither was random, but I non-randomly selected the first sequence to "look more random."

## Speeds? (Score:3, Insightful)

__

Funny Adult Vido Clips [laughdily.com]

## Frequency=! Speed (Score:3, Insightful)

## Re:Speeds? (Score:5, Informative)

## Re:Speeds? (Score:4, Informative)

GHz has no meaning with Quantum computers. Sorry.Clock speeds still do mean something in quantum computers. Arguably they're even more important than in classical computers, since in quantum computers you need to get operations done at least 10^4 times faster than the system's decoherence [wikipedia.org] time for quantum error correction to be robust. Decoherence times can be as short as microseconds, meaning that multiGHz operations could be important. Of course, if you're building a quantum computer, you want to work with a system with as long a decoherence time as possible....

## Re:Speeds? (Score:5, Funny)

## Vaporware Award goes to.... (Score:5, Insightful)

Wow, a Quantum Computer that only exist in a "Powerpoint Universe ©".

## Re:Vaporware Award goes to.... (Score:2)

It is even remarkably specifically non-specific about what it _could_ achieve. Nice. I like.

## Re:Vaporware Award goes to.... (Score:2, Interesting)

However, given that they have narrowed their focus (from a general purpose machine) to a special purpose machine using (they say) todays level of technology, they have a good chance..

Known and working tech + narrow problem = Engineering + Marketing = A working product

## Not so fast. (Score:2)

## And I promise diamond computing tomorrow (Score:2, Insightful)

DisclosureandTimelineinto one dual book for $40.On a more serious note... a fully operational quantum computing device in 3 years? Did they borrow their marketing/timeline departments from the Longhorn division of Micro$oft?

## Re:And I promise diamond computing tomorrow (Score:2)

Of course, it's a lot easier to get funding when you say "It'll work in 3 years!" as opposed to "We have no idea when this will work!"

## got my hopes up (Score:4, Insightful)

## Re:got my hopes up (Score:5, Interesting)

but it's not a proper quantum computer. It's based on tunneling, not entanglement.Nope, it is a quantum computer qubit. E.g. Google for "Cooper pair boxes"

This is a solid state quantum computer, an artifical atom, where the state could be encoded as the presence or absence of charge on an island. It tunnels on and off quantum mechanically, creating a qubit. Its just how the underlying system works.

Entanglement requires the coupling of more than one qubit, and is more part of the maths of QM. However, this may be done practically through capacitve or inductive coupling for the above devices.

## Re:got my hopes up (Score:4, Informative)

It sounds like what they're describing is actually a set of Josephson junctions. People think those might be able to be used a viable qubits; however, the trick is having and maintaining coherence. This is what allows quantum computation. From the description they give of this system, it sound like they're not concerned with long term coherence, only with using tunneling to perform a sort of "annealing" algorithm to find the lowest energy state. So I think the grandparent it right, this is not a quantum computer in the ordinary sense.

## Re:"Field entanglement"? (Score:2)

Not necessarily. It really all depends on how the decoherence time scale for this system relates to the strength of the interactions. It would still find the global minimum even if decoherence was very fast, because each dipole individually will still tunnel to a lower energy state.

## My prediction... (Score:2, Funny)

Is that no one will be able to tell accurately if one will exist or not in three years until it is actually observed.

## NP-complete problem solver? (Score:2)

Quantum computers can be used to get approximate solutions to large NP-complete optimization problems much more quickly than the best known methods running on any supercomputer.Did someone invent a quantum algorithm that makes a dent in NP-complete? News to me.

## Re:NP-complete problem solver? (Score:4, Informative)

A little searching on arXiv.org [arxiv.org] brought up:

Quantum Algorithm for SAT Problem and Quantum Mutual Entropy [arxiv.org]

So at least the first half of that title relates to your question.

## What is a Quantum Chaos Amplifier...exactly (Score:2)

## Re:NP-complete problem solver? (Score:2)

approximate solution. No, quantum computers can't do NP-Complete any better than normal computers, but they can approximate quite a bit faster.## What's the big deal? (Score:4, Interesting)

Seems to me that this is only news since they plan on selling quantum-CPU time.

## Re:What's the big deal? (Score:2)

If state of the art is now 14, I'm not far off.

## QCL (Score:5, Informative)

The documentation that comes with it is really interesting, and gives some good insights into how quantum computing works and how to write programs for a quantum computer.

## The time is NOW (Score:2, Funny)

Start to code those void Byte2Qbyte(QBYTE* pOut, const BYTE *pIn) NOW!!

We should start building an open source STL extension around template class QAlgo<..>, QBit<..>,

It's going to be too late when they hit us with US patent #1.232.322.999

OR when they start outsorcing the Q++ development to India once more..

This time, we gotta be ready!!!

## Tech support? (Score:2)

I realize modern tech support doesn't need to know much to anything about electronics or computer hardware's innerworkings... but I wonder if quantum computers will change that... and how many years of school will quantum tech support need?

===

It doesn't seem likely, but it'd be neat to have the title "Quantum Mechanic" EHEH!

## Re:Tech support? (Score:4, Funny)

## Re:Tech support? (Score:3, Funny)

Tech: Imagine that it's working and look at it again.

User: Hey! How'd you do that?

## Re:Tech support? (Score:2)

That really depends on what you are supporting. Yea if you work for Dell you don't need to know an interrupt from a hole in the ground but if you working for NVidia supplying developer support yea you do.

## Re:Tech support? (Score:2)

## So what OS will these suckers run? (Score:2)

## prototype (Score:2)

It won't be a fully functional quantum computer of the sort long envisioned...(We'll have Quantum Pong(R) running on it.)

## Working within 3 years? Sure! (Score:3, Funny)

## Re:Working within 3 years? Sure! (Score:2)

That's why I always leave *my* data unencrypted, with just a header stating, "Encrypted message follows:"

Drives the NSA guys nuts when their quantum decryptor auto-converts my dirty bomb plans into innocuous emails to friends.

## All this time and money (Score:2)

And in 3 years we'll have a small beginning..

All this... just to find out the answer is 42 ????

## noisy (Score:2)

## Quantum Computers have a far reaching implications (Score:2, Interesting)

Application 1: Optimization[dwavesys.com] http://www.dwavesys.com/optimization.php [dwavesys.com]

Quantum computers can be used to get approximate solutions to large NP-complete [wikipedia.org] optimization problems much more quickly than the best known methods running on any supercomputer.

Application 2: Quantum Simulation[dwavesys.com] http://www.dwavesys.com/quantumsimulation.php [dwavesys.com]

Simulation has always been an important part of what conventional

## Re:Quantum Computers have a far reaching implicati (Score:2)

One of the most interesting categories contains problems that are called NP-complete. These all have the feature that in order to solve the problem all possible solutions must be tried, and the number of possible solutions grows exponentially with the problem size."All possible solutions must be tried" is just wrong, and has nothing to do with NP-completeness.

I am not a Quantum Computing expert, but as far as I know there hasn't been much progress

## Apple Switch? (Score:2, Funny)

## Quantum overkill? (Score:2)

"D-Wave is on track to produce a special-purpose, "noisy" piece of quantum hardware that could solve many of the physical-simulation problems that stump today's computersAll this for Doom 3 and The latest GTA? I mean, they stump my nvdia 5700 graphics card, but I am not about to go over the top.

I think it will be the same, except, instead of mimesweeper, there will be a grid of boxes, complete with cyanide gas canisters and cats, and you have to somehow work out which are alive.

Does this mean that Doom

## Solve the travelling salesmen problem in seconds? (Score:3, Interesting)

It will, however, be ideally suited to solving problems like the infamous traveling-salesman problem . . . D-Wave's chip performs exactly this type of calculation automatically, in seconds.How many seconds?Are they claiming that the travelling salesmen problem can be solved in polynomial time? This would be the biggest news to come out of the computer industry since the invention of the transistor. As far as I know, no quantum algorithms exist for solving NP complete problems such as the travelling salesmen problem. Can anyone here enlighten me?

## Re:Solve the travelling salesmen problem in second (Score:4, Informative)

See, the problem in quantum computing is that you can have multiple states in parallel, but you can only 'read' one and lose all other states. This is like having a book with 400 pages, but when you open it, it selects (with a certain probability) a specific page and the whole book becomes that page, you lose all other pages.

We need to make the system converge/interfere in a meaningful way to the correct solution, and in its own way, this is the challenge of QC. In the end, if our algorithm works, we will be able to get the answer to the travelling salesman problem with a probability (depending how good our convergence is). Just like our book above, we need to increase the chance of opening the book on the page with the correct solution. This is non-trivial.

The thing is, the 'weight' of that convergence/meaningful interference, in problems like the travelling salesman, is usually as high as the time it takes to run the normal algorithm in classical computing. We end up not having much gains, it's not that fast. So, yes, if they are that good, we can solve the travelling salesman dilema in seconds... with a certain, probably very low %. Probably even a meaningless %.

However, in problems like finding if a function is unanimous(f(x)=0 or f(x)=1 for all x) or balanced (f(x)=0 for exactly half of x and f(x)=1 for exactly the other half of x) could be done in quantum computer with no errors and very fast, while in classical computing you'd have to try each value of x. If you however allow a certain % of error, the classical way with a stochastic computer would work best (test only a certain pool of value).

## Right (Score:2)

I'll believe it when I see it...

You know, that whole quantum thing...

## Flaw in Business Model (Score:2, Interesting)

But even if they do get this thing to succeed, with all the technical issues solved, the business model won't work. They want to sell solutions, not hardware? So company X asks a question, but the answer is only worthwhile if competing company Y can't ask the same question. The resolution is simple, company X will patent the question! Imagine how innovation can be stiffled now -- an order of

## Digi-comp, quantum edition (Score:2)

## Decoherence! It simply won't work. (Score:4, Insightful)

One or two bit at a time quantum computers - sure, we can build those. My hunch, however, is that to build an N bit quantum computer is exp(N) hard. I expect we will eventually have non-trivial quantum computers, but unfortunately the amount of effort to make them will be as much as the effort to build a classical machine that can simulate them. This isn't just nay-saying, unlike the claims that driving at over 30mph would kill humans, my claims are backed up by many physicists, in particular those that don't have a financial interest in quantum computers.

On the other hand, quantum computer science is very interesting as a branch of mathematics and Shor's algorithm for factoring, for example, is a thing of beauty. So I don't blame people bluffing in order to get grant money. And I suppose I don't really hold it against researchers trying to get money out of venture capitalists this way either. Just as long as that money isn't coming out of any funds I'm investing in...

## Re:With the good comes the bad. (Score:2)

It's similar to having a cache of firearms in your garage; expect a visit from the government who wants to know what you're doing with it.

## Re:With the good comes the bad. (Score:2, Funny)

having a damned powerful computer in no way makes it easier for someone to design a bomb, as me having XCode makes it easy for me to write a program, as I can't actually program.Forget building bombs. Filesharing is destroying the economy and will soon be classified as cyberterrorism. Just imagine what would happen if the pirates got their hands on a quantum computer. They'd suddenly be able to bittorrent

all movies simultaneously. Such powerful technology could destroy civilization as we know it.## Re:With the good comes the bad. (Score:3, Funny)

They'd suddenly be able to bittorrent all movies simultaneously.Yeah, until someone tries to watch one, and then suddenly everybody has only that movie...

## Re:With the good comes the bad. (Score:2)

ETA were a possibility. They do fit the description "unhappy spaniards" rather well.Well, they

werea possibility (and they certainly are unhappy Spaniards), but you'll recall that the then-president of Spain also made that statement, which immediately turned out to be wrong, and he lost his office because of how wrong he was. There's a little more to it than that (in terms of Spanish politics in general), but there's certainly no question that it was Jihadists trying to change Spain's policy about suppo## Re:With the good comes the bad. (Score:2)

SalesBoss: Salesman, use your sales skills and this new computer to visit all our target customers throughout the US as efficiently as you can.

SalesMan: Computer, provide me with the most efficient route to our customers in the US

Computer: Citizens in the US have been eliminated, your travel milage is Zero. Please stay where you are.

## Re:Atoms?? (Score:3, Informative)

the one is a dererministic computing device (call it "pentium" or similar...

the other is a whole new kind of devices. these are devices where bits of information are not re

## Re:The real world? (Score:2)

## Re:...time is an illusion... (Score:2)

You all, don't forget to use this capability when the aliens send us a message...

## Re:...time is an illusion... (Score:2)

## Re:So does this mean (Score:2)