The Quantum Conundrum

Arthur Cole

There certainly was no lack of opinions surrounding the annoucement last week by D-Wave Systems that it had developed a commercially viable quantum computer. The very fact that such a development, which has been theorized by top thinkers over several decades, would usher in a truly revolutionary advance in computer sciences, was enough to make the announcement a newsworthy event on its own.

 

But within nano-seconds, a string of experts was on hand to debunk the claim, saying that since quantum physics takes place on a level that cannot be measured or observed, there is no way of ever verifying whether such a system is actually operating as the theory says it should.

 

And indeed, after further questioning, D-Wave Systems executives admitted that they really didn't know how their device, dubbed Orion, works.

 

Which leaves us in a quandary because if it is truly a quantum device, we're talking about the ability for matter to exist in two different states at once, meaning that individual bits of information are no longer limited to simple 0 and 1, but can represent a range of symbols in between, boosting processing power by untold orders of magnitude.

 

On the other hand, if there really is no quantum component in Orion, then we may have a unique design that may or may not find its way into the wider computing universe, but in the end is nothing more than the digital version of cold fusion.



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Feb 19, 2007 10:53 AM J�rgen J�rgen  says:
"within nano-seconds, a string of experts was on hand to debunk the claim, saying that since quantum physics takes place on a level that cannot be measured or observed, there is no way of ever verifying whether such a system is actually operating as the theory says it should."This statement contains a profound misunderstanding. There are a range of standard measures to test for quantum effects. The contention with D-Wave rests not on the capability to perform such a test, but on their reluctance to allow for these tests to be performed.  Reply
Feb 23, 2007 1:16 AM Robbie Jena Robbie Jena  says:
[color=blue]What should matter the most is, if the product runs equivalent to  hundreds of petaflops per second. Then we can use it for many things including climate simulation while scientists keep fighting on how it works for the next four decades.[/color] Reply

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