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A Look At Quantum Computer Manufacturer D-Wave and Its Founder 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the road-ahead dept.
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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A Look At Quantum Computer Manufacturer D-Wave and Its Founder

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  • Not a QC! (Score:5, Informative)

    by AchilleTalon (540925) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @08:23PM (#44066213) Homepage

    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! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tpjunkie (911544) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @08:46PM (#44066363) Journal
      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.
      • 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.

      • by Arkh89 (2870391) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @11:24PM (#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...

    • 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: Th

    • 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: Th

  • not to sound picky (Score:5, Informative)

    by nimbius (983462) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @08:32PM (#44066287) Homepage
    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].
    • by MightyYar (622222)

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

    • by Myria (562655) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @11:08PM (#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.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        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.
        • by slew (2918)

          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

    • 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 th

      • by sFurbo (1361249)

        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

    • by amaurea (2900163)

      "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]

  • funny thing (Score:5, Funny)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @08:56PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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 a

    • by gweihir (88907)

      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.

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

    • 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 Pu

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

    • by oGMo (379)

      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.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        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.

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

    May it inspire more innovators!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • 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?
  • I'm surprised no one has suggested it yet...
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      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.

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

  • 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 re
  • "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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