http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulated_annealing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_annealingp. 33 HarmutNeven, Director of Engineering, Google’s quantum-computing project, says “There you see an exponentially widening gap between simulated annealing and quantum annealing…That’s great news, but so far nobody has paid attention to it.
Quantum Leap - The Future of Technology
INSIDE THE TANGLED QUEST FOR THE
FUTURE OF COMPUTING
February 17, 2014
Two of the great scientific undertakings
of the 20th century – quantum physics
and digital computing
“What would happen if we built a computer
that operated under quantum rules instead
of classical ones? Could it be done? And if
so, how? And more important, would there
be any point .”
Richard Feynman (in the 1980’s)
• Classical computers work with information in bits.
Each bit can be either a 1 or a 0 at any one time. This
is the foundation of digital computing as we know
it, and it operates only in linear fashion.
• Quantum computers operate with bits that can be
1, or 0, or 1 and 0 at the same time.
• In a superposed state, a quantum bit exists as two
equally probable possibilities.
• If a single quantum bit (or qubit) can be in two states
at the same time, it can perform two calculations at
the same time.
• Two qubits could perform four simultaneous
calculations; three could perform eight, and so on.
The power grows exponentially.
Because its data
can exist in multiple
states, a quantum
instead of one by one.
• The supercooled niobium chip at the heart of the D-
Wave Two has 512 qubits and therefore could in
theory perform 2512 operations simultaneously.
• That’s more calculations than there are atoms in the
universe, by many orders of magnitude.
• “This is not just a quantitative change.”
Colin Williams* – D-Wave
* Former Stephen Hawking research assistant at Cambridge
• An adiabatic quantum computer is a totally new
proposition for software development.
• “It’s not about writing recipes or procedures. It’s
more about kind of describing ‘What does it mean to
be an answer? And doing that in the right way and
letting the hardware figure it out.”
William Macready, D-Wave’s
VP of Software Engineering
A Long Shot?
• NSA has an $80 million quantum-computing project.
(According to an Edward Snowden leaked document)
• In-Q-Tel is in. (High tech investment arm of the CIA)
• Lockheed Martin (Defense contractor)
• Draper Fisher Jurvetson (Venture capital, Skype, Tesla Motors)
• Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
• NASA computing lab (Largely funded by Google)
• Outright debunkings have been lobbed from ivory
towers. “They are not qubits, they are just plain old
• “…quantum effects…means we are able to store
superpositions in such a way that the system retains
its ‘fuzziness’ or quantum coherence, so that it can
perform tasks that are impossible otherwise. There
is no evidence that the D-Wave is using quantum
Christopher Monroe – Joint Quantum Institute – University of Maryland
“It’s fine,” he says (about the skeptics). “It’s good.
Science progresses by rocking the ship. Things like
this are a necessary component of forward progress.”
D-Wave’s co-founder and
chief technology officer
• Superposition: A quantum system can be in more
than one state at the same time, and even more than
one place at the same time.
• Uncertainty: The more precisely we know the
position of a particle, the less precisely we know how
fast it is travelling – we cannot know both at the
• Adiabatic Process: A process that occurs without the
transfer of heat or matter between a system and its
• Quantum Entanglement: when pairs or groups of
particles are generated or interact in ways such that
the quantum state of each particle cannot be
described independently. A quantum state.
• Simulated annealing: a process for a good
approximation of the global optimum of a
given function in a large search space. May be more
efficient than exhaustive enumeration.
• Quantum annealing: Starts from a quantum-
mechanical superposition of all possible states with
equal weights. It may outperform simulated
annealing under certain conditions.