Monday, January 20, 2014

BBC reports on study casting doubt on quantum computing performance

Over at the BBC, research is reported on regarding the speed of commercial quantum computers. In some tests devised by a team of researchers, the commercial quantum computer has performed no faster than a standard desktop machine. The team set random maths problems for the D-Wave Two machine and a regular computer with an optimised algorithm.

The general feeling is, quantum computers have the potential to perform certain calculations significantly faster than silicon-based counterparts. The computer (or tablet or smart phone) we use today works by "flipping the switch" on bits that exist in one of two states: 0 or a 1. Quantum computers may address multiple states beyond the binary -- they encode information as quantum bits, or qubits, which can exist in superposition. Qubits represent atoms, ions, photons or electrons and their respective control devices that are working together to act as computer memory and a processor. Because a quantum computer can contain these multiple states simultaneously, such a device has the potential to be millions of times more powerful than today's most powerful supercomputers.

In the study, researchers comparing D-Wave's $15 million computer (utilizing quantum mechanics) was calculating faster than a regular machine. Of course, the researchers were only looking at one type of computing problem and the D-Wave may perform better in other tasks. Read more...

No comments:

Post a Comment