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Canadian Company Builds Superfast Computer - No One Knows How It Works

GDPR

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The Canadian tech company D-Wave claims to have built a computer based on the principles of quantum mechanics, which famously no one understands.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/22/age-of-quantum-computing-d-wave

Heres a good metaphor for quantum computing:

Imagine you only have five minutes to find an "X" written on a page of a book in the Library of Congress (which has 50 million books). It would be impossible. But if you were in 50 million parallel realities, and in each reality you could look through the pages of a different book, in one of those realities you would find the "X."

In this scenario a regular computer is you running around like a crazy person trying to look through as many books as possible in five minutes. A quantum computer is you split into 50 million yous, casually flipping through one book in each reality.

Got that? Good.

The most-talked of future applications include designing better drugs (yeah), really accurate weather forecasting, winning elections based on personalised voter data and boosting GDP by targetting ads in the same way to individual consumers, no more traffic snarl-ups, exploring distant planets, beefing up defence, secure encrypted communication and machine learning (AI).

In other words, more of the same for the hoi polloi.

There must be something in it because NASA, the CIA and Google are all heavily invested in D-wave.

No one seems to agree that D-wave has done what it claims to do, but they agree it has done something.

So are we on the verge of the break-through and what positive/negative impacts do you see?
 


Morgellons

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Can it even make P.ie run smoother?
 

ShinnerBot No.32564844524

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It's because the D-wave solution to quantum computing is dedicated to a type of quantum computing, but is not in itself a general quantum computer which will eventually work the way Eagle describes it. A bit like the difference between a CPU and Graphics processor unit, the graphics processor focuses exclusively on floating point calculations and performs better at it's niche application.

D-Wave's quantum computer, rather, only solves optimization problems, that is ones that can be expressed in a linear equation with lots of variables each with its own weight (the number that is multiplied times each variable). Normally, such linear equations are very difficult to solve for a conventional 'universal' computer, taking lots of iterations to find the optimal set of values for the variables. However, with D-Wave's application-specific quantum computer, such problems can be solved in a single cycle.

"We believe that starting with an application-specific quantum processor is the right way to go—as a stepping stone to the Holy Grail—a universal quantum computer," Hilton told us. "And that's what D-Wave does—we just to optimization problems using qubits."

Is D-Wave a Quantum Computer? | EE Times
Still fascinating however, D-wave are pioneers in the field while everyone else grapples with trying to make the ultimate universal quantum computer. Unless there's a sudden unexpected discovery, it's more likely we'll gradually build quantum computing through differing approaches such as D-Wave's.
 

Mitsui2

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The Canadian tech company D-Wave claims to have built a computer based on the principles of quantum mechanics, which famously no one understands.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/22/age-of-quantum-computing-d-wave

Heres a good metaphor for quantum computing:

Imagine you only have five minutes to find an "X" written on a page of a book in the Library of Congress (which has 50 million books). It would be impossible. But if you were in 50 million parallel realities, and in each reality you could look through the pages of a different book, in one of those realities you would find the "X."

In this scenario a regular computer is you running around like a crazy person trying to look through as many books as possible in five minutes. A quantum computer is you split into 50 million yous, casually flipping through one book in each reality.

Got that? Good.

The most-talked of future applications include designing better drugs (yeah), really accurate weather forecasting, winning elections based on personalised voter data and boosting GDP by targetting ads in the same way to individual consumers, no more traffic snarl-ups, exploring distant planets, beefing up defence, secure encrypted communication and machine learning (AI).

In other words, more of the same for the hoi polloi.

There must be something in it because NASA, the CIA and Google are all heavily invested in D-wave.

No one seems to agree that D-wave has done what it claims to do, but they agree it has done something.

So are we on the verge of the break-through and what positive/negative impacts do you see?
Saw a BBC Horizon programme on quantum computing a few years back. It really was mindbending!
 

ibis

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It's because the D-wave solution to quantum computing is dedicated to a type of quantum computing, but is not in itself a general quantum computer which will eventually work the way Eagle describes it. A bit like the difference between a CPU and Graphics processor unit, the graphics processor focuses exclusively on floating point calculations and performs better at it's niche application.



Still fascinating however, D-wave are pioneers in the field while everyone else grapples with trying to make the ultimate universal quantum computer. Unless there's a sudden unexpected discovery, it's more likely we'll gradually build quantum computing through differing approaches such as D-Wave's.
Seems to be - the D-Wave effectively uses the multiple possible quantum states to get the optimisation done in a single cycle. You hand the optimisation problem off to the D-Wave in such a form that all the possible states of the problem are represented simultaneously by all the possible states of the quantum system, and the collapse of all the possible quantum states of the system to the most stable produces as an answer the most optimal answer.

That requires you to phrase your problem in such a way that the states of the quantum system correspond to the possible solutions, and if the critics are correct, then the computer can only handle problems that are in the form of linear equations. That's a big restriction, because representing complex systems as single linear equations is not a great paradigm in itself. For example, a D-Wave computer could only produce an economic forecast based on a linear equation model of the economic system, which in itself is already an absurd reduction of the complexity of such a system, the only justification for which is the difficulty of doing anything else. This doesn't offer the ability to do something different, just to do the same thing faster, so it's not a game-changer.

It's like a faster abacus - a useful incremental step, but not something fundamentally different in itself.
 

ON THE ONE ROAD

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a few years back during a spell of unemployment, was doing a computer course. The trainer was using the phase quantum computers to refer the next age of computers. When i asked him what he meant he basically described the cloud. Any way thats your tax money at work.
 

ibis

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sethjem7

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That's the 5-qubit one? Yeah, it makes a lot of sense to open it up, because there's currently no base of quantum programmers in the world, and they both seed that and get crowd-sourced ideas on quantum programming by doing so.

If I have a spare day, I might go and get baffled by it.
It is, there is some debate on whether it is conventional silicon binary based computing system doing the work or the superposition entanglement process yielding the results - that whole process is a mind breaker.
 

GDPR

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It does also seem that the computer only does one thing faster and many other things a hundred times slower, a phenomenon which we should all be familar with.
 

JCR

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Does quantum computing depend on the many worlds interpretation being demonstrably true or is it a processing mechanism that is using the term quantum computing to describe simultaneous processes?
 

ibis

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Does quantum computing depend on the many worlds interpretation being demonstrably true or is it a processing mechanism that is using the term quantum computing to describe simultaneous processes?
They are, I think, separate issues. The superposition of multiple quantum states has always lent itself to the idea of a multiverse as a way of accommodating them, but I don't think the use of such superpositions in quantum computing says anything new about them at this stage.

There is an argument that if quantum computers can solve problems of a certain complexity (NP problems) within a certain time then that would be proof of the many worlds interpretation. The argument is, needless to say, extremely technical - the problem is that at the moment what quantum computers are capable of seems to lie somewhere between ordinary complexity and the higher complexities that would be accepted as proof.
 
Last edited:

cyberianpan

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It's an area that I've closely followed

It is notoriously difficult to ascertain such claims

If such claims prove true ... https ... will be http

Overnight internet security and privacy will vanish ... eCommerce ... Banking ... and much more

If the bad lads get there first ...chaos will ensue

The best way to see what private sector outfit is getting close ? See how good the spooks monitoring them are ...

cYp
 

JCR

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They are, I think, separate issues. The superposition of multiple quantum states has always lent itself to the idea of a multiverse as a way of accommodating them, but I don't think the use of such superpositions in quantum computing says anything new about them at this stage.

There is an argument that if quantum computers can solve problems of a certain complexity (NP problems) within a certain time then that would be proof of the many worlds interpretation. The argument is, needless to say, extremely technical - the problem is that at the moment what quantum computers are capable of seems to lie somewhere between ordinary complexity and the higher complexities that would be accepted as proof.
So it seems we would be none the wiser about the reality of what we can call the quantum world according to what you say, even if quantum computing becomes a reality. I wonder if those higher complexities in quantum computers could ever result in some kind of proof of the many worlds idea or is it simply the same as having workable equations which we can apply to mechanistic or processing systems without really understanding the underlying actual processes at play.

I suppose, having thought about it, like you I'd cut it into separate issues even if its just for practical purposes for now. Just get it working first, philosophize later I suppose.
 

ibis

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So it seems we would be none the wiser about the reality of what we can call the quantum world according to what you say, even if quantum computing becomes a reality. I wonder if those higher complexities in quantum computers could ever result in some kind of proof of the many worlds idea or is it simply the same as having workable equations which we can apply to mechanistic or processing systems without really understanding the underlying actual processes at play.

I suppose, having thought about it, like you I'd cut it into separate issues even if its just for practical purposes for now. Just get it working first, philosophize later I suppose.
There's a bit of both, in that you can throw problems of increasing complexity at the quantum computers, and see how fast they solve them. If they can solve the most complex problems in reasonable time, then multiple universes would actually seem to be required - because the most complex class of problems cannot, as far we're aware, be solved in any linear fashion in reasonable time, which in turn suggests that the quantum computer is doing its computing in multiple parallel universes (or at least multiple parallel states of this universe).

The problem is that what we have available isn't really sufficient to test that, so the answer is still open...plus there's also the possibility that quantum computers in some other way reduce the complexity of the most complex problems.
 

RodShaft

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This computer is on the go since 2013. Yay! Go Guardian. Rehashing old news.

There have been a rake of articles in New Scientist about this over the last few years.
 

RasherHash

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The Canadian tech company D-Wave claims to have built a computer based on the principles of quantum mechanics, which famously no one understands.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/22/age-of-quantum-computing-d-wave

Heres a good metaphor for quantum computing:

Imagine you only have five minutes to find an "X" written on a page of a book in the Library of Congress (which has 50 million books). It would be impossible. But if you were in 50 million parallel realities, and in each reality you could look through the pages of a different book, in one of those realities you would find the "X."

In this scenario a regular computer is you running around like a crazy person trying to look through as many books as possible in five minutes. A quantum computer is you split into 50 million yous, casually flipping through one book in each reality.

Got that? Good.

The most-talked of future applications include designing better drugs (yeah), really accurate weather forecasting, winning elections based on personalised voter data and boosting GDP by targetting ads in the same way to individual consumers, no more traffic snarl-ups, exploring distant planets, beefing up defence, secure encrypted communication and machine learning (AI).

In other words, more of the same for the hoi polloi.

There must be something in it because NASA, the CIA and Google are all heavily invested in D-wave.

No one seems to agree that D-wave has done what it claims to do, but they agree it has done something.

So are we on the verge of the break-through and what positive/negative impacts do you see?
I hope they are in a funny mood and call it Skynet :shock:
 

corporal punishment

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They just uninstalled Macafee from a normal computer. No big mystery there.
 

PeacefulViking

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At the moment D-wave's computer is of less practical use than an ordinary classical computer, even for the optimization problems it is specialized for. At the same time, it is far from clear the D-wave's machine is a good prototype for quantum computer either.

They are good at generating hype however, that can't be disputed.

Here is a discussion with a real quantum computing expert on the topic of D-wave 3Q: Scott Aaronson on Google
 

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