Skip to comments.Quantum computer to debut next week
Posted on 02/09/2007 11:28:07 AM PST by US admirer
Twenty years before most scientists expected it, a commercial company has announceda 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.
D-Wave is the world's only "commercial" quantum computing company, backed by more than $20 million of venture capital (there are more commercial ventures in the related field of quantum cryptography). Its stated aim is to eventually produce commercially available quantum computers that can be used online or shipped to computer rooms, where they will solve intractable and expensive problems such as financial optimisation. 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.
Scientists in the world's many quantum science departments are looking anxiously at whether the demonstration - linked to a computer museum in Mountain View California, will vindicate their work or cast doubt upon it.
"This is somewhat like claims of cold fusion," said Professor Andrew Steane of Oxford University's Centre for Quantum Computing. "I doubt that this computing method is substantially easier to achieve than any other."
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." Lloyd is one of the scientists who helped develop the "adiabatic" model of quantum computing which D-Wave's system exploits - a method which D-Wave believes will sidestep the problems which have restricted progress in quantum computing so far.
Ziggy, is that you?
That line just hurt my head thinking about...
Or maybe it wont at the same time.
Don't understand it, but it sounds good.
To someone who still has a slide rule in his desk somewhere all I can do is shake my head and smile when I hear the younger generations talking now and the tools they take for granted.
Now this is interesting. I will be very interested in hearing the results.
Extremely neat technology. In a few decades, high-qbit-count quantum computers will be as far head of today's machines as a 1GHz wireless notebook is ahead of Eniac.
The cool thing, addressing NP-complete problems, is that rather than sequentially chugging thru all possible solutions to complex problems, a quantum computer can _be_ in all those solutions simultaniously. We currently can't imagine the possibilites.
Porn at the speed of thought.........
A quantum computer can still compute without being turned on, so I don't understand why they bother to make it, since it's already operational?
We'll all need one of these to run the next version of Windows given how big Vista is..
Several months ago I read a book called "A Different Universe" by Robert B. Laughlin, a Nobel laureate in quantum physics. I don't have the book handy (I returned it to the library), but if I recall correctly he basically said that the idea of quantum computing is based on a fundamental misunderstanding and cannot work. We'll know eventually, I suppose.
LOL! That's the first use that you can think of for this?
Marx said the same about capitalism.
"The cool thing, addressing NP-complete problems, is that rather than sequentially chugging thru all possible solutions to complex problems, a quantum computer can _be_ in all those solutions simultaniously. We currently can't imagine the possibilites."
Does this mean secure banking is out the window?!? I don't want to go back to a paper check-book!
and instant punishment for thinking about it LOL
That's how the Infinite Improbability drive was invented ;-)
No, actually it was my second. My first thought was pi...........then one thing led to another.........
What does any of this have to do with Anna Nicole Smith?
Hehehehe, Good comback!
Wow, imagine how many windows bluescreens it can display per second!
Oh! Qubits. Never mind.
If a terrorist got ahold of a true quantum computer, the world would end a couple of days later. All security would be out the window. A trillion dollars would get stolen overnight, world financial systems would collapse, followed by blood in the streets, you get the picture.
It's not possible to cut every computer in the world simultaneiously over to quantum cryptography. So a real quantum computer would be the deadliest weapon on earth. Far more dangerous than nukes.
Fortunately, this company is most likely full of crap.
There's a simple cryptography scheme that no amount of computer power can ever crack: one-time pad encryption.
How it works: add a random sequence of numbers to 2 pads of paper, each sheet having a number printed on it, and send one copy to the recipient ahead of time. To use, combine the random number in sequence with a number representing a character to encode. Then destroy that sheet of paper. Decryption is the reverse. As long as the pad is truly random, is never reused, and only the recipient has a copy, then the encryption can never ever be cracked using any method.
That was rude... There was no picture there...
For those who are not familiar with the wording and terminology, NP-complete problems are problems which become unmanageable as the number of items in the problem increase.
The classic example is the so-called Traveling Salesman problem. The problem is to find the most efficient route for a traveling salesman to visit all the customers while only visiting each customer once and only using each connection between them once. Simple to explain, simple to diagram the complete population of customers, extremely difficult to find all possible journies. For a population of say 5 customers one could find the shortest (most efficient) journey by hand as there are 2 to the fifth or 32 solutions. Increase it to 10 customers and you have 1,024 solutions. Now it would take several hours if not days. Make it 20 and you are talking months or years. At a hundred you don't have enough time in your life. Look at a typical telephone network for a small city with several thousand connections. It is currently impossible to find the best route to send a phone call on.
Most of these problems are "solved" today with approximations. They are constantly encountered by researchers, engineers, medical personel. If it were possible to find the best solution in a reasonable amount of time the savings in money, effort, energy, etc., is huge. There are literally hundreds of these problems which have very practical usage in today's world. So having a means to solve them will have a tremendous impact on all aspects of our lives, including health, communication, finance, etc., etc.
And as stated above "POP".
Yeah that's real practical when I do my online banking, thanks for that.
But did Marx have a Nobel Prize in economics?
Come to think of it, if Yassar Arafat can win the Nobel Peace Prize, I guess anything is possible.
Well the bank could give you a little thumb drive with enough random numbers on it that it would work fine for you.
Cool. Now Windows can lose your data in 64 parallel dimensions.
Except that the bank's computers would be hacked so the theives would have both sets of numbers.
It is only partly true the one-pad encryption is unbreakable. The real impact is there is no second message to decrypt if the first one is broken. The big problem is the transmission of the number to the recipient. Now we are back into the world of couriers, stealing the pad(s), moles, spies, etc. So the system is not really feasible in today's high speed world of information. For single transactions with time to get the number securely to the recipient, yes. To handle the millions of banking or security transactions a day, no.
Quantum computing vs. quantum cryptography.
Irresistable force meets immovable object?
....and yet Windows would probably still crash it!
that is funny. Obviously your mind is a q-mind. LOL
If they get into the bank's computers they can put any numbers they want on any account. You won't be of any concern to them.
Money is mostly just information, magnetic bits on a disk somewhere. Someone can steal the bits but the bank should be able to recreate your money for you from backups.
"he basically said that the idea of quantum computing is based on a fundamental misunderstanding and cannot work"
I always wondered how you can get a result if there are the thing is always true and false at the same time.
Your bank could send you a DVD or USB device with the OTP material on it. Eight gigabytes out to be enough key material to get you through all the banking you need done. Or smaller pads could be distributed to you by the bank over the internet protected by a symmetric cipher (which remains resistant to QC attacks).
We can control it by looking at it, or looking away.
That is true, but the problem is getting the recipient the one-time pad with high probability that noone else gets it.