Feeds

D-Wave qubits in the era of Quantum Computing

Analog box in disguise?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

D-Wave showed three examples of Orion in action, marking the first such demonstration of a quantum computer. The most impressive display came during a drug molecule matching exercise, while two less impressive efforts had Orion crunch through a party table seating arrangement that paired like-minded guests and then go on to solve a SudoQ puzzle.

But there's only so much you can do with 16 qubits. So, D-Wave plans to produce a 32 qubit chip by the fourth quarter, a 512 qubit chip in the first quarter of 2008 and then a 1,024 qubit chip in the third quarter of 2008. D-Wave next year will also allow customers to send calculations to the Orion system via the internet and then have calculations returned to the customer and then later in 2008 ship actual systems.

The cost for such boxes will likely be comparable to large, high performance computing clusters.

Of course, these grand plans might fail to occur.

"It could turn out that these systems are not protected (from interference) the way we thought that they are," Rose said. "If so, this system could dead-end after 16 qubits.

"If you combine too many of these devices together and you are not good enough at filtering out the noises, then you will end up with a hunk of a (trashed) computer."

Start-ups rarely admit to such disastrous possibilities, as you all know too well.

Hear a brief clip with D-Wave's CEO

Even worse, D-Wave might not have a quantum computer at all. It might have just produced an odd, analog beast.

Shot of D-Wave's 16 qubit chip

"We have done tests that show there is very compelling evidence that this thing is behaving as a quantum computer," Rose said, when pressed on this issue by a questioner in the audience. "We have have a large amount of supporting evidence that I am not going to release today because it is being submitted for peer review."

So why would a company with so many questions launch its product now?

Well, D-Wave claims it wanted the world to know how far it has come with the quantum technology. It wants people to begin thinking that such machines could be the real deal. Most importantly, D-Wave wants labs, companies, partners and developers to begin playing with Orion.

The company claims that current code can run almost unmodified on the Orion system, and it would love to have some top flight high performance computing geeks put such a claim to the test.

Hear a brief clip with D-Wave's CTO

Have we seen the future?

The D-Wave crew sure made it seem that way. The company is the first start-up that we've run across to eat up more than two hours with its product launch, which was attended by close to 400 people. That said, the management's mix of enthusiasm and frank realism made the pitch all the more believable.

While systems go on sale in 2008, D-Wave clearly has a lot of work to do proving the merits of its technology. The company has taken a brute force approach to the quantum computing problem by focusing on churning out as many qubits as possible in the shortest amount of time. You have to give the team credit for such a risky attack given that rivals are busy refining more sophisticated, but as of yet untouchable systems. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?