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Sonntag, 5. Mai 2013

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the World's First Commercial Quantum Computer* [*But Were Afraid to Ask]

After 14 years of research and development the first commercial quantum computer in history was launched this year by D-Wave Systems, Canada. The D-Wave One works with 128 qubits, has a volume of 10 cubic metres and comes with a scheduled price of 10.000.000 $. Until now D-Wave Systems officially sold only one computer. Not surprisingly this first customer [Lockheed Martin] comes from the military sector. One can assume that the Pentagon and the intelligence services also have a D-Wave One in their cellar.

As is well known the hypothetic computation power of quantum computers cannot be compared with the power of conventional processors. Due to superposition effects a quantum computer with 128 entangled qubits can theoretically perform 2^128 calculations in a single step. Yes, indeed: 340282366920938463463374607431768211456 calculations in a fucking single step!

Too bad, but there is a physical impairment: Quantum superpositions are extremely prone to interference [see decoherence]. The slightest interaction with the environment leads to a collapse of the quantum system. Therefore the components of the D-Wave One have to be cooled down close to absolute zero. One technique that can be utilized in this cryogenic state is called adiabatic quantum computation [AQC]. This technology is supposed to be superior to classical processing when it comes to hard optimization problems [details here] and is applied in the D-Wave computers.

Will D-Wave Systems change the world in the next years? It's at least their claim.
And Jeff Bezos [CEO of Amazon] as well as Goldman Sachs are also believing in the potential of this enterprise, as they have invested large sums of money in D-Wave.

Well, dear reader, if you have some bucks left, you can of course also order your first quantum computer. Just write an email to sales@dwavesys.com. [For Amazon clients shipping is free!]