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Quantum computer unveiling today

A Canadian company called D-Wave is holding a big unveiling today at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, of the world’s first quantum computer. The CTO of the company has an interesting blog post from mid-January talking about what they intend to demo.

The Orion system is a hardware accelerator designed to solve a particular NP-complete problem called the two dimensional Ising model in a magnetic field. It is built around a 16-qubit superconducting adiabatic quantum computer processor. The system is designed to be used in concert with a conventional front end for any application that requires the solution of an NP-complete problem.

If this takes off I’m going to have to dust off my physics books. The D-Wave blog also has pointers to a collection of papers with some technical details on what’s going on under the covers. From (brief) coverage at PhysOrg.com

Though most engineers thought quantum computers were decades away, D-Wave says the digital “bits” that race through the circuits of its computer are able to stand for 0 or 1 at the same time, allowing the machine to eventually do work that is far more than complex than that of digital computers.

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  1. [...] Friday that quantum computer startup D-Wave Systems (on whom we’ve previously reported; e.g. here and here) is gearing up for an image processing demo at SC07 on Monday During a session at the SC07 [...]

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