Monday, July 1, 2013

Quantum Computing Has Arrived

by erics 42, This post originally appeared at Function of a Rubber Duck.

The local quantum computing company D-Wave has recently made news headlines around the world. Founded in 1999, the research technology company has come a long way in their goal of making practical quantum computing a reality.
Before we get into that though I would like to take this opportunity to say, I told you so. :P
Two years ago the world’s largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, bought a quantum computer from the company that tech blogs pegged to be valued around $10 million. The D-Wave One System is now being upgraded to the D-Wave two which CTO and Cofounder Geordie Roe says is 500 000 times faster. That means a lot when it’s predecessor already operates at speeds unobtainable by conventional computers standards! Continuing on this path they plan to release a new computer every two years, and they seem well on their way. They recently secured $30 million in a new equity round from investors.
But what does that really mean and what are the applications of this technology?
(If you haven’t read my previous post on the power of quantum computers I suggest you read that to get a good idea of some of the background revolving around these amazing applications of physics.)
Quantum computers exceed at completing tasks quickly that would take conventional computers years. At the quantum level bits of matter can be represented as combination of their 0 and 1 states.  These computers can read and manipulate these combinations simultaneously which makes them very powerful tools. The quirk of quantum mechanics that enables this is called superposition.
With this extra power quantum computers are able to work tasks that involve identifying objects within pictures, solving problems in academia like testing scientific theory, and working with overwhelming and complex data. These computers also are optimized for learning and a solid tool for developments in artificial intelligence.
Quantum computing has arrived.

About this contributor: I am a grade 10 student with a keen interest in physics and anything science. I watch Dr. Who- do you? My hobbies are creating strange edible food combinations and listening to all genres of interesting music.

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