Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Scientist: Quantum leap?

Supercomputers. The stuff of science fiction of the late 1970's. They could communicate (artificial intelligence) and calculate impossible mathematical problems in a few seconds. They were at the peak of their intelligence. At times even smarter than we are. Although some of this is exageration some supercomputers are already in development and promise to be just what mathematicians and physicists need to solve their problems. They are called quantum computers because they use the process called "quantum annealing" . This optimizes any task that the computer has to carry out by replacing normal binary bits with quantum bits or aptly named qubits. Due to superposition of these bits, a quantum computer can check all the possible solutions from a group simultaneously rather than analyzing them bit by bit.

"D-wave has not presented evidence that its machine can solve problems faster than a classical computer"

The computer is called D-wave. There are some scientist however that disagree that the computer could actually replace any normal binary computer at all. Before going commercial these issues must be addressed and thoroughly analyzed so that consumers are happy with their new product. Testers say that the D-wave exhibits some quantum properties but not enough to actually speed up calculations.