Commercial quantum computer fails to impress in new test | Science News

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Commercial quantum computer fails to impress in new test

D-Wave machine runs no faster than traditional computer in head-to-head challenge

By
2:33pm, June 19, 2014

QUANTUM BLACK BOX  The D-Wave Two quantum computer, seen here, solves problems with over 500 superconducting circuits called qubits chilled to 0.02 degrees Celsius above absolute zero.

A comprehensive new test that pits the performance of traditional computers against quantum ones reveals that the machine marketed as the first commercially available quantum computer holds no speed advantage in its ability to solve a certain type of problem.

Since the 1980s, physicists have aspired to build a quantum computer. Using quantum bits, or qubits, which can be both 0 and 1 simultaneously, these computers should be capable of performing certain tasks far faster than traditional computers (SN: 3/10/12, p. 26).

Due to numerous technical and basic physics challenges, such devices are decades away at least. Nonetheless, D-Wave Systems of Burnaby, Canada, decided to build the best quantum computer it could with current technology. D-Wave One, introduced in 2010, and the recently released D-Wave Two are made up of small superconducting circuits that

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