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Twenty years before most scientists expected it, a commercial company has announced a quantum computer that promises to massively speed up searches and optimisation calculations. D-Wave of British Columbia has promised to demonstrate a quantum computer next Tuesday, that can carry out 64,000 calculations simultaneously (in parallel "universes"), thanks to a new technique which rethinks the already-uncanny world of quantum computing. But the academic world is taking a wait-and-see approach.
It has been predicted that quantum computing will make current computer security obsolete, cracking any current cryptography scheme by providing an unlimited amount of simultaneous processing resources. Multiple quantum states exist at the same time, so every quantum bit or "qubit" in such a machine is simultaneously 0 and 1. D-Wave's prototype has only 16 qubits, but systems with hundreds of qubits would be able to process more inputs than there are atoms in the universe.
Others are more enthusiastic: "I'll be a bit of a sceptic till I see what they have done," said Professor Seth Lloyd of MIT. "But I'm happy these guys are doing it."
To appreciate the feasibility of computing with almost no energy or heat, lets consider the computation that takes place in any ordinary rock. Although it may appear that nothing much is going on inside a rock, the approximately 10^25 (ten trillion trillion) atoms in a kilogram of matter are actualy extremely active. Despite its apparent solidarity, the atoms are all in motion, sharing electrons, changing particle spins, and generating rapidly moving electromagnetic fields. all of this activity represents computation, though not MEANINGFULLY organized.
In terms of computation, and just considering the electromagnetic interactions of a 1 kilogram rock, there are atleast 10^15 changes in state per bit per second, which represents about 10^42 (million trillion trillion trillion) calculations per second. YET THE ROCK REQUIRES NO ENERGY INPUT AND GENERATES NO APPRECIABLE HEAT -Singularity is near
I saw the demonstration, but why am I still skeptical?
Originally posted by sbctinfantry
If it's real, then cool. If it's not, the bummer. I just wish they would show the real potential of a quantum computer, instead of these parlor tricks.