D Wave – The World’s First Quantum Super Computer

Usman Pirzada
Jul 23, 2013
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Photo courtesy of D-Wave Systems Inc.

Some of us remember watching Code Lyoko on the old Cartoon Network and wondering what we wouldn’t give to have a Quantum Computer in our backyard. Apparently that dream is no longer an impossible fantasy. After years of research and impractical prototypes the World’s First Quantum Computer, the D-Wave, has gone commercial.

The D-Wave Two

Rank: The World’s first Quantum Computer
Power: 512 Qubits
Operating Temperature: 0.02 Kelvin (0 Kelvin is Absolute Zero)
Casing :  Self-Contained Unit

Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing works by using a processor that harnesses the very nature of Quantum Mechanics itself. It harnesses the power of electrons and protons to solve incredibly complex and massive algorithms in no time at all. The true power of Quantum Computing lies in the fact that due to the nature of the electron ( it can be in two places at once!) instead of just 1 and 0 there is a third mode known as 1 superimposed 0. (Qubits instead of Bits) The simultaneous state of being activated and deactivated at the same time.

quantum computing

Qubits not bits.

Now consider this
In a Binary system with 1 element there is only two possible combinations 1 and 0
In a Qubit system with 1 element there are three possible combinations 1, 0 and 1-superimposed-0
In a Binary system with 2 elements there are four possible combinations 00, 10, 01, and 11
In a Qubit system with 2 elements there are nine possible combinations 00, 01, 0x, 10, 11, 1x, x0, x1, xx (x being the superimposed state)

See how the power increases exponentially. Now imagine the power of a 512 Qubit System. The thought is frankly scary. And D Wave is technically still in its infancy, imagine what power it could wield in 5 years.

Real Life Applications

quantum computing
Quantum computing will revolutionize the way we treat Information Technology. Remember those pesky Encryption Algorithms? The ones that would take even normal computers thousands of years to solve (AES 256 Bit Encryption)? Well that is because a normal processor would solve it by trying out every combination one by one. A Quantum computer would simply try all combinations simultaneously giving the answer in a fraction of a fraction of a time.

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A Quantum Computer would allow the solution to problems so complex that it would take a normal processor an impractical amount of time to solve.  This is called optimization.

Optimization would make the D Wave lighting fast at solving some specific problems while only average at others.

Interesting Facts about Quantum Computing and the D-Wave

  • Google and Lockheed Martin have both acquired 1 unit of D-Wave Two each for 10 Million Dollars apiece to try it out for themselves. Google’s feedback is highly optimistic.
  • No one really knows how the D Wave works, the creators have probably a reasonable idea but even they wont have the complete idea because of the very nature of Quantum Computing. Observing a Quantum State destroys it. Confused? You should be otherwise you obviously didn’t get it.
  • The D Wave was faced with controversy upon release, people claiming that it employed Quantum Annealing – a form of software emulation of quantum capabilities. Untill recently when a paper was released freeing it form the accusation.
  • Scientists speculate that the process of a Quantum Computer are being performed in an alternative universe in our existence.
  • Before D-Wave Two Quantum Computing was impossible and Quantum Annealing was the only solution in horizon.
  • The D Wave is thought to be around 17500000 times faster then a top grade processing setup. However the true number is actually around 3500 times because every single process must be repeated 5000 times to ensure accuracy! This is because the Quantum States are easily disturbed by even the small variance in environmental factors.

D Wave at Google HQ.

Photo courtesy of D-Wave Systems Inc.

Inside a D Wave System.

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