The Road to 1024 Qubits
First, I’d like to apologize for the long delay in updating. I’ve been working a ton on COMP 3004 all the way through reading week with the rest of my team, so I haven’t had any time to post anything in quite a while.
The first of the pair of D-Wave demos is now complete! Lots of video can be found on Google Video and YouTube. Below is a set of links to many of them.
I still can’t believe that they let me write the molecule program. That means that I got to write the first practical application to be run using a quantum computer, which is so very cool. Of course, it was the hardware, not the software, that made history, but it’s fun that I was able to be part of it.
There are also the many skeptics in the Quantum Computing (QC) community who say that what D-Wave has doesn’t count as a quantum computer. However, many of them have their livelihoods depending on D-Wave failing, because they’ve been telling people (like the people funding their research) that it’ll be 20 years before they come up with something. Now a company claims that they’ll have useful quantum computers by the end of 2008 (1024 qubits vs. the current 12 qubits by researchers). One can see how many researchers would be a bit more than bitter about the situation, but I had hoped for less childishness from them. I’m glad to see that David Deutsch (perhaps the world’s most revered QC researcher) is being professional about it taking a neutral-but-hopeful position.
There are lots of bad articles on the demo. Many are negative and bad, many are positive and bad; I mean “bad” as in misleading or containing outright false information. Two of the better articles I found were by The Register and Scientific American. Many articles state that D-Wave claims to have made a commercially viable quantum computer, which is false. D-Wave claims to have the goal of making the world’s first commercially viable quantum computer (hopefully by the end of 2008), and that this one is just a proof of concept that happens to be more qubits (16) than anyone has managed before (12), and that at this number of qubits, it doesn’t come anywhere close to competing with conventional computers.
Anyway, I’ll be back at D-Wave this summer, tackling more cool applications and maybe I’ll get out more this time.
(originally written on Wed, 28 Feb 2007 13:53:00 EST)