D-Wave sells first commercial quantum computer

Jun 01, 2011 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Dr. Geordie Rose, CTO and co-founder of D-Wave Systems, with the D-Wave One system. Image credit: D-Wave.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Last week, Burnaby, British Columbia-based company D-Wave Systems, Inc., announced that it sold its first commercial quantum computer. Global security company Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland, bought the quantum computer for a rumored $10 million, which includes maintenance and other services for several years.

Lockheed Martin communications manager Thad Madden said that the company spent a year reviewing the computer, called the D-Wave One, before purchasing it. The company plans to use the computer to build “cyber-physical systems,” which integrate software with environmental sensors.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after D-Wave researchers published a paper in Nature describing how D-Wave’s devices work, using a process called quantum annealing. The paper demonstrated quantum behavior in a system with eight qubits made from superconducting loops, by showing that (classical) thermal fluctuations could not be responsible for flipping the qubits’ spins.

D-Wave One uses 16 of these eight-qubit cells in its 128-qubit chip. However, due to the complexity of the 128-qubit chip, some experts in the field are still not fully convinced that D-Wave’s commercial system works with quantum effects.

"There is an enormous gap between demonstrating some kind of quantum effect in eight qubits, as they have done here, and saying that they have a 128-qubit chip that can perform a computationally interesting task faster than a conventional computer," Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist at MIT, told Nature News.

The sale to is not the first time that D-Wave has worked with the technology industry. In 2009, D-Wave partnered with Google to develop software that can recognize automobiles within images. Some cell phones now use the machine-learning algorithms created by D-Wave’s computers.

Explore further: Step lightly: All-optical transistor triggered by single photon promises advances in quantum applications

More information:

Read also: D-Wave researchers demonstrate progress in quantum computing

via: Nature News, PC World, Wired

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TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2011
I am sure this revelation is going to send shock waves throughout the encryption industry, people and companies who use encryption, including myself. Does this now mean credit cards, ATM cards; transactions over the Internet, etc. are now at risk of being stolen by those with expensive quantum computers. Intellectual property may now be up for grabs for anyone with those expensive machines. Looks like the rich are about to become richer, and the middle class and poor are about to become poorer, unless this machine does not work or break encrypted files. Those who do use encryption may want to go from 128-bit or 256-bit AES to 768-bit or 1344-bit AES offered by a German company called DriveCrypt. Even then, unless people are using quantum encryption, then today's encryption may be useless.
Yevgen
5 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2011
Even then, unless people are using quantum encryption, then today's encryption may be useless.


Yes, the schemes that uses difficult to compute functions like
RSA would become obsolete. However, nothing at all changes for OTP (one time pad) encryption that uses a random key
with a size larger than data and used only once. This one still remains theoretically unbreakable.

Regards,
Yevgen
CSharpner
2.2 / 5 (18) Jun 01, 2011
Looks like the rich are about to become richer, and the middle class and poor are about to become poorer

Why is it people say this for just about EVERYTHING? I say, good for them! Maybe they'll be able to hire more people (create jobs) to move more people out of the "poor" category and into one of the "not poor" categories, and maybe some people can get a higher paying job (this would be the rich getting richer AND the poor getting richer). One's success doesn't have to come at the expense of the other. I'm so tired of that old false idea being trounced around so much.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2011
Brute force attacks and short simple passwords/phrases are something everyone using encryption needs to worry about. RSA one-time keys are great, but I do not think they will be effective versus quantum hacks.
This is something people need to give some serious thought. What if a true quantum computer were to become available tomorrow? And what if only the rich and powerful can afford them in the beginning.
The main question is can the new quantum computer by D-Wave really function as a true quantum computer? If anyone knows, then I would like to know as well as a whole bunch of other people/companies/governments.
FrankHerbert
3.1 / 5 (13) Jun 01, 2011
LOL, TabulaMentis is afraid someone is going to quantum-hack his computer and steal all his theories. I don't want to imagine the horrors someone could wreak on the world with such awesome information.

One's success doesn't have to come at the expense of the other.

It "doesn't have to," but this requires the consent of the successful. Men are not angels.
FrankHerbert
3.2 / 5 (11) Jun 01, 2011
Omatumr, please upgrade your encryption immediately! We cannot allow the secrets of neutron-neutron repulsion to fall into the hands of the terrorists!
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2011
LOL, TabulaMentis is afraid someone is going to quantum-hack his computer and steal all his theories. I don't want to imagine the horrors someone could wreak on the world with such awesome information.
I have been copyrighting my stuff for years. Go to the US Copyright Office and check them out!
flashgordon
5 / 5 (2) Jun 01, 2011
if this is the 'big news', then it seems like yea/nea big news. Sure, D-wave is selling quantum computers; but, they are special purpose computers. On the other hand, D-wave can make a whole bunch of different special purpose quantum computers . . . one per subject and we could see quantum computing having an impact on all science long before a general purpose quantum computer gets going. This will also have the affect of making D-wave vary rich! They could use these special purpose quantum computers to help delve into the mysteries of quantum computing as well! This may indeed be exciting news!
marraco
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
If this works, and quantum computers follow something like Moore's law, then the 1000$ quantum computers is at least 3 decades on the future. That's discouraging...
flashgordon
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
quantum computers are pretty powerfull . . . ;
TheRedComet
1 / 5 (2) Jun 01, 2011
So no one read the article as usual seems like they are using the computer for automation of one or more of their manufacturing plants not hacking in to your pathetic savings account.
lbentil
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
Has the quantum computer revolution already began? Could the D-wave might as well be the ENIAC analogue of quantum computers? I'm amazed and very curious at how a much larger number of these devices in various areas will impact our society.
Maybe the time has come for PC to evolve to PQC
TabulaMentis
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2011
So no one read the article as usual seems like they are using the computer for automation of one or more of their manufacturing plants not hacking in to your pathetic savings account.
If you were familiar with information security, then you too would be concerned. George. W, the US Congress and Obama have been looking out for our general welfare. Sure, you can trust them!
TheRedComet
1 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2011
Are trying to insight fear with me in order to put me off balance and conform to your idea. Oh wait I have half a brain.
TheRedComet
4.3 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2011
I would worry more about someone diving in to my trash over someone using a 10 million dollar cyber-physical system to steal from me.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2011
What we should do is master quantum encryption first for individual and national security reasons before mass producing quantum computers . Silicon Valley, this is your calling!
TabulaMentis
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2011
I would worry more about someone diving in to my trash over someone using a 10 million dollar cyber-physical system to steal from me.
Micro cross-cut paper shredders are a wonderful innovation.
fmfbrestel
4.8 / 5 (8) Jun 01, 2011
OMG people, this computer can NOT break any encryption -- none. It is not that kind of quantum computer. This is a computer which uses 128 quasi-qubits to perform quantum annealing. Quantum annealing cannot crack your encryption. quantum computers with that sort of power are still a very long way off.
Personally I would expect a fusion power plant to be selling electricity to the grid before a true quantum computer is perfected.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2011
@fmfbrestel:
Thanks for the clarification. It was a fun exchange of ideas! Yeah, it will be around 2040 when both fusion and quantum computers start to become practical, though it could happen sooner if someone got lucky and caught everyone by surprise.
fmfbrestel
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
That said, D-wave's systems are nothing to sneeze at. Google uses them to optimize machine learning code, and now the people who run Skunk Works have one. There are so many optimization problems that Lockheed has and that this system is designed to solve. Not every company needs one of these, but those that do are going to be happy to have one.
fmfbrestel
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
What D-wave really needs to close the credibility gap is to have a major university lay down the cash for one and start publishing research that utilizes the quantum annealing that these systems can pull off.
fmfbrestel
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
The longer it takes for that to happen, more people will wonder why. If i were the CEO of D-Wave, i would be calling up the president of MIT everyday until they found an alumnus to pony up the cash.
Roach
4 / 5 (7) Jun 01, 2011
But will it run Crysis? ;)
TheRedComet
3.5 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2011
The best part about this entire thread Is that this was probably bought buy the US tax payer to build more efficient killing machines. But one of the first concerns we have is are credit cards.
PS3
1 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2011
Seems lots of folk are jelly saying it's not real quantum.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 02, 2011
"Maybe they'll be able to hire more people." - DullBoy

In other words, they will be able to purchase more wage slaves for their labor camps.

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2011
"But will it run Crysis?" - Roach

If so, the game would run as a supposition of game states only collapsing to a fixed state when the game reaches it's normal termination.
Turritopsis
2 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2011
Quantum annealing is the process of problem resolution with minimum energy expenditure.

Quantum computing is about asking all questions simultaneously which allows for quick time resolution. 

Qubits could be considered semi-intelligent. They can make minor tweaks congruently for all problems. When answer 1 is dependent on answer 2 a change in 2 is something 1 is aware of. In effect the computational loop of a conventional system is bypassed. Quantum systems are aware.
Turritopsis
not rated yet Jun 02, 2011
I'm not sure this computer is comprised of true qubits. I think this is a half-breed, a classical computer whose processing technique resembles that of a quantum system.
Cave_Man
3 / 5 (3) Jun 02, 2011
Looks like the rich are about to become richer, and the middle class and poor are about to become poorer

Why is it people say this for just about EVERYTHING? I say, good for them! Maybe they'll be able to hire more people (create jobs) to move more people out of the "poor" category and into one of the "not poor" categories, and maybe some people can get a higher paying job (this would be the rich getting richer AND the poor getting richer). One's success doesn't have to come at the expense of the other. I'm so tired of that old false idea being trounced around so much.


What a delusion you must live in,he was just trying to say that this tech may not be good because it gives only the person who can afford it the advantage and there is also a disparity in the fact that we can't all cobble shoes, or bake bread. The anti-trust and monopoly control in this country is highly corrupt and nearly ineffective.
fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2011
I'm not sure this computer is comprised of true qubits. I think this is a half-breed, a classical computer whose processing technique resembles that of a quantum system.

If your not sure, and you know your not sure, maybe you shouldnt post information you know might be wrong....

These systems do not use true cubits, but it is not just some classical system that simulates cubits either. The results of the system are the direct result of quantum effects that are not possible to duplicate in a classical computer. There was an earlier article around here that discussed this in detail. This is a special case of quantum computer - a "true" quantum computer would be able to process the entire class of quantum algorithms, D-wave systems can only process quantum annealing.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Jun 02, 2011
Quantum annealing mentioned by fmfbrestel that D-Wave uses in their quantum computers sounds something like what is mentioned in this May 30, 2011 Physorg article: 'Entanglement can help in classical communication.'

http://www.physor...cal.html
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Jun 02, 2011
Quantum cryptography is the keyword for security in the quantum world. Physorg has a Web page with links regarding the subject:
http://www.physor.../quantum cryptography/
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Jun 02, 2011
The above link do not work correctly.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Jun 02, 2011
Never mind............
tkjtkj
not rated yet Jun 04, 2011

Yes, the schemes that uses difficult to compute functions like
RSA would become obsolete. However, nothing at all changes for OTP (one time pad) encryption that uses a random key
with a size larger than data and used only once. This one still remains theoretically unbreakable.

Regards,
Yevgen


I did PM you on this, re: CBC mode crypto (Cipher Block Chaining) but others might be interested in the question too: is cbc going to be secure?

Physmet
5 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2011
In other words, they will be able to purchase more wage slaves for their labor camps.


So, then quit your job since presumably you are one of the working slaves the bad business owners take advantage of. I tried to own a business once, and I failed. They succeeded and more power to them. Why do you begrudge successful people??
ikook
1 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2011
Why do you begrudge successful people??

Wiki speaking for myself:

"Lockheed "ranks number one on the 'contractor misconduct' database maintained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-DC-based watchdog group." Since 1995, the company has agreed to pay $577 million to settle fifty-four instances of misconduct."
Trendscanner
not rated yet Jun 06, 2011
Why not start using the word QUMPUTERS for quantum computers?
CSharpner
5 / 5 (2) Jun 06, 2011
Why do you begrudge successful people??


Wiki speaking for myself:

"Lockheed "ranks number one on the 'contractor misconduct' database maintained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-DC-based watchdog group." Since 1995, the company has agreed to pay $577 million to settle fifty-four instances of misconduct."

That doesn't speak for ALL successful people, nor is it a complete description of Lockheed nor of all of it's employees nor owners. People are imperfect, whether they're unemployed, privately employed, private employers, government employed, elected officials, volunteers, or posting comments on this thread. People at all levels lie, cheat, and steal. People at all levels also do good things. Everyone does both good and bad. No one is entirely evil nor entirely good. You're focusing too much on just the negatives. Try to find the good in people too. You'll by much happier and give a much less negative image here.
Ricochet
not rated yet Jul 26, 2011
The reason that box is so big is to hide the trained monkeys inside that are actually spinning tops to determine the outcome of the "qubit" calculations.