D-Wave Demonstrated World's First Commercial Quantum Computer

Feb 14, 2007

The world's first commercially viable quantum computer was demonstrated yesterday in Silicon Valley by D-Wave Systems, Inc., a privately-held Canadian firm.

Quantum computing offers the potential to create value in areas where problems or requirements exceed the capability of digital computing, the company said. But D-Wave explains that its new device is intended as a complement to conventional computers, to augment existing machines and their market, not as a replacement for them.

Company officials formally announced the technology at the Computer History Museum, in the heart of Silicon Valley, in a demonstration intended to show how the machine can run commercial applications and is better suited to the types of problems that have stymied conventional (digital) computers.

“D-Wave’s breakthrough in quantum technology represents a substantial step forward in solving commercial and scientific problems which, until now, were considered intractable. Digital technology stands to reap the benefits of enhanced performance and broader application,” said Herb Martin, chief executive officer.

Quantum-computer technology can solve what is known as “NP-complete” problems. These are the problems where the sheer volume of complex data and variables prevent digital computers from achieving results in a reasonable amount of time. Such problems are associated with life sciences, biometrics, logistics, parametric database search and quantitative finance, among many other commercial and scientific areas.

Quantum technology delivers precise answers to problems that can only be answered today in general terms. This creates a new and much broader dimension of computer applications,” Martin said.

“Digital computing delivers value in a wide range of applications to business, government and scientific users. In many cases the applications are computationally simple and in others accuracy is forfeited for getting adequate solutions in a reasonable amount of time. Both of these cases will maintain the status quo and continue their use of classical digital systems,” he said.

“It’s rational to assume that quantum computers will always contain a digital computing element thereby increasing the amortization of investments already made while expediting the availability of the power of quantum acceleration,” he said.

The idea of a computational device based on quantum mechanics was first explored in the 1970s and early 1980s by physicists and computer scientists such as Charles Bennett of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Paul Benioff of Argonne National Laboratory, David Deutsch of the University of Oxford, and Richard Feynman of the California Institute of Technology. But to make the technology commercially applicable required the full-scale, full-time business effort of an interdisciplinary team such as that organized by D-Wave Systems.

D-Wave overcame this challenge in part by using the processes and infrastructure associated with the semiconductor industry. This and components such as a new type of analog processor, one that uses quantum mechanics rather than the conventional physics associated with digital processing, to drive the computation.

D-Wave’s approach allows the building of “scalable” processor architectures using available processes and technologies. In addition, its processors are computationally equivalent to more standard devices. Any application developed for one type of quantum computer can be recast as an application for the other.

D-Wave intends to deliver products to end users via a channel-marketing and partnerships with major-brand corporations with existing customer relationships and vertical-industry expertise, according to Martin.

He added that D-Wave is pursuing a partnership strategy as well to develop and deliver the software applications necessary to attract customers faced with solving the kinds of NP-complete problems for which quantum computing is ideally suited.

More info: www.dwavesys.com/index.php?page=technology

Source: D-Wave Systems

Explore further: Controlling core switching in Pac-man disks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

When science and art produce nanosculpture marvels

Nov 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Quite a claim: a sculpture as the smallest creation of the human form in history. The sculptor, Jonty Hurwitz, said he loves the Internet. That is because, since the nanosculpture exhibit launch, ...

What is the value of G?

Oct 28, 2014

NIST has taken part in a new push to address a persistent and growing problem in physics: the value of G. The Newtonian constant of gravitation, used to calculate the attractive force of gravity between objects, is more than ...

Superconducting circuits, simplified

Oct 17, 2014

Computer chips with superconducting circuits—circuits with zero electrical resistance—would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption ...

A novel platform for future spintronic technologies

Oct 12, 2014

Spintronics is an emerging field of technology where devices work by manipulating the spin of electrons rather than their charge. The field can bring significant advantages to computer technology, combining higher speeds ...

Recommended for you

Controlling core switching in Pac-man disks

Dec 24, 2014

Magnetic vortices in thin films can encode information in the perpendicular magnetization pointing up or down relative to the vortex core. These binary states could be useful for non-volatile data storage ...

Atoms queue up for quantum computer networks

Dec 24, 2014

In order to develop future quantum computer networks, it is necessary to hold a known number of atoms and read them without them disappearing. To do this, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have developed ...

New video supports radiation dosimetry audits

Dec 23, 2014

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), working with the National Radiotherapy Trials Quality Assurance Group, has produced a video guide to support physicists participating in radiation dosimetry audits.

Acoustic tweezers manipulate cell-to-cell contact

Dec 22, 2014

Sound waves can precisely position groups of cells for study without the danger of changing or damaging the cells, according to a team of Penn State researchers who are using surface acoustic waves to manipulate ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.