Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:04 UTC, submitted by Punktyras
Hardware, Embedded Systems The world's first commercially viable quantum computer was unveiled and demonstrated today in Silicon Valley by D-Wave Systems, Inc., a privately-held Canadian firm headquartered near Vancouver. Quantum computing offers the potential to create value in areas where problems or requirements exceed the capability of digital computing, the company said. But D-Wave explains that its new device is intended as a complement to conventional computers, to augment existing machines and their market, not as a replacement for them.
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hmmm
by poundsmack on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:18 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

the question is, is this really where computing as we know it is heading? I remember a few years back when this was an amazing thing that could be achieved. now with new inovations form intel and IBM for processor fabrication and what not is quantum computing a logical spet in for long term goals like 10 years. Though i guess with IT trying to predict anyhting up to 4 months in advance is virtualy impossible...

Reply Score: 1

RE: hmmm
by Eugenia on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:20 UTC in reply to "hmmm"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Well, it's in the nature of quantum computing to help in areas where traditional machines can't. For example, SETI or medical or math problems could be solved much faster. And cracking encryptions is now substantially easier.

Edited 2007-02-14 01:21

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: hmmm
by ormandj on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:23 UTC in reply to "RE: hmmm"
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

Except that now quantum encryption is possible, which is IMPOSSIBLE to decrypt, because the process of decryption would alter the payload, thus rendering it invalid.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: hmmm
by butters on Wed 14th Feb 2007 05:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hmmm"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

I think you're right that quantum encryption/decryption is useless, but quantum decryption of digital encryption is possible, and this could possibly be executed so quickly as to render digital encryption useless. Therefore encryption of any kind becomes useless?

I don't know whether to be overjoyed or frightened by this...

Edited 2007-02-14 05:40

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: hmmm
by ormandj on Wed 14th Feb 2007 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: hmmm"
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

Quantum encryption and VALID decryption works fine. It's basically unbreakable (as far as we know.) In other words, using quantum encryption, I can send a message anywhere, and *know* it was only readable by the intended RX.

The stream cannot be "touched" between sender/reciever without the payload being invalidated, that's what I was trying to get at.

So, in a way, it's great - no government agencies spying on us. In another way - it's bad. No more spying on enemy agencies. Ever. Well, unless we come up with some new ideas that radically change the face of quantum mechanics. :p

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: hmmm
by jziegler on Wed 14th Feb 2007 09:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: hmmm"
jziegler Member since:
2005-07-14

The stream cannot be "touched" between sender/reciever without the payload being invalidated, that's what I was trying to get at.

Sounds like a pretty easy DoS opportunity. Just touch the stream every time and the intended recipient will never receive it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: hmmm
by ormandj on Wed 14th Feb 2007 09:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: hmmm"
ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

How will you know it's being sent? Good try, though. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: hmmm
by wirespot on Wed 14th Feb 2007 10:38 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: hmmm"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

That applies to any form of communication. What the data contains is irrelevant if you can interfere with the transmission.

No, the greatest trick is to allow the communication to go on apparently untouched and safe, while actually eavesdropping. That is impossible with quantum technology, because it's not possible (at least for now) to reproduce the same data stream once you've touched it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: hmmm
by dekernel on Wed 14th Feb 2007 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: hmmm"
dekernel Member since:
2005-07-07

Sounds like a pretty easy DoS opportunity. Just touch the stream every time and the intended recipient will never receive it.

Not true. The message will arrive, but it will be rejected due to the fact that the message was 'altered'.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: hmmm
by wirespot on Wed 14th Feb 2007 10:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: hmmm"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

So, in a way, it's great - no government agencies spying on us. In another way - it's bad. No more spying on enemy agencies.

I think you're being over-optimistic. As with any new technology, the price will be prohibitive for regular consumers. Government agencies will afford it, while you will not. This means that the government will be able to (a) use unbreakable encryption; (b) make the "old" encryption that you're using completely useless.

And they might also pass laws saying that quantum technology qualifies as "weapons" and you may not own and use it even if you can afford it, so it won't fall into the hands of "terrorists", God forbid. Sounds familiar?

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: hmmm
by korpenkraxar on Wed 14th Feb 2007 12:09 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: hmmm"
korpenkraxar Member since:
2005-09-10

And they might also pass laws saying that quantum technology qualifies as "weapons" and you may not own and use it even if you can afford it, so it won't fall into the hands of "terrorists", God forbid. Sounds familiar?

Hmm, isn't it so that in a democratic society, *we* are able to pass laws restricting how authorities can use this technology?

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: hmmm
by smitty on Wed 14th Feb 2007 16:05 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: hmmm"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

Ahh, the naive. The US already has very strict regulations on what kind of encryption can be exported overseas (only extremely weak stuff now). It's only a couple of small steps away from limiting what American citizens can use as well. After all, if you have nothing to hide then you won't mind, will you? And if they let this out it's only a matter of time before the terrorists and child porn viewers start using it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: hmmm
by MightyPenguin on Wed 14th Feb 2007 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: hmmm"
MightyPenguin Member since:
2005-11-18

Supposedly someone has figured out how to entangle (or whatever the magic is) the photons in a stream and then send them happily on their way and so eavesdrop on communications. Not sure about altering them though. Sorry I can't remember who announced it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: hmmm
by butters on Wed 14th Feb 2007 05:42 UTC in reply to "hmmm"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

the question is, is this really where computing as we know it is heading?

Obligatory: the question is, does it run Linux? ;-)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: hmmm
by Bob Slob on Wed 14th Feb 2007 06:27 UTC in reply to "RE: hmmm"
Bob Slob Member since:
2007-01-11

The question is rather: "will it run Vista?"

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: hmmm
by Blackhouse on Wed 14th Feb 2007 06:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hmmm"
Blackhouse Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, because Microsoft is known to make version of it's operating system compatible for almost every architecture out there... *head -> wall*

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: hmmm
by lost on Wed 14th Feb 2007 08:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hmmm"
lost Member since:
2006-03-17

"The question is rather: "will it run Vista?""

no, i think it won't run vista, vista is too heavy also for a quantum computer ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: hmmm
by Fransexy on Wed 14th Feb 2007 08:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hmmm"
Fransexy Member since:
2005-07-29

Well, have a quantum computer and run vista in it, is as stupid as buy a ferrari for run faster and atach to it a trailer

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: hmmm
by axilmar on Wed 14th Feb 2007 16:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hmmm"
axilmar Member since:
2006-03-20

The question is: will it run Duke Nukem Forever?

Reply Score: 2

NP Complete?
by samad on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:19 UTC
samad
Member since:
2006-03-31

"Quantum-computer technology can solve what is known as 'NP-complete' problems."

If humans indeed have created a device that could solve NP-complete problems, the world of computer engineering would be radically altered.

("NP-complete" is a designation of something a computer cannot compute precisely.)

Reply Score: 3

RE: NP Complete?
by ebasconp on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:29 UTC in reply to "NP Complete?"
ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

"NP-complete" is a designation of something a computer cannot compute precisely in a fashionable time.

Reply Score: 4

RE: NP Complete?
by smitty on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:54 UTC in reply to "NP Complete?"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

You made a couple mistakes there - first, quantum computers can't efficiently solve NP Complete problems, only BQP.

From Wikipedia:
BQP is suspected to be disjoint from NP-complete and a strict superset of P, but that is not known. Both integer factorization and discrete log are in BQP. Both of these problems are NP problems suspected to be outside BPP, and hence outside P. Both are suspected to not be NP-complete. There is a common misconception that quantum computers can solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time. That is not known to be true, and is generally suspected to be false.

Second, computers can compute a NP Complete problem, they're just too slow at it to be useful. It isn't impossible though if you made one fast enough.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: NP Complete?
by cato_minor on Wed 14th Feb 2007 10:28 UTC in reply to "RE: NP Complete?"
cato_minor Member since:
2006-02-13

NP-Completeness is about how the complexity of the program (run time) scales with the problem. You can have a NP-complete problem with a certain amount of input and have it solved quickly with a certain machine (doesn't matter how fast it actually is). Now increase the inputs, and the run time of your algorithm will be increased *a lot more*.

So computers can always start computing NP-complete problems. They can compute everything that isn't incalculable; the halting problem would be an example for something incalculable, for which no algorithm is possible (proven by mathematics).

But fast computers don't help with NP-complete problems. They can compute a certain problem, now you make the problem slightly more complex and your computer will take a lot more time.

Quantum computing is very difficult to understand; the point is that incredibly high numbers of ways can be tried simultaneously, but if you actually want to see "the" result, you run into a lot of issues.

Reply Score: 3

Having seen a lot of buzz about this...
by ormandj on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:22 UTC
ormandj
Member since:
2005-10-09

... I'm curious how "real" this system is. Most of the articles have been of the "will be" variety. Now there's a link to the manufacturer. Any outside news sources that have had hands-on time with it?

If this is "real", then this is wonderful news for MANY communities.

Reply Score: 4

gfacer Member since:
2005-11-10

Dwave is apparently having another demo at their HQ in a few days, that Ars Technica will be attending.

From what I read about it, it could be a sham, but you wouldn't really know until later models, which really should outperform regular chips.

Reply Score: 2

ormandj Member since:
2005-10-09

Not sure if I really trust Ars in this situation to begin with. They have some bright folks there, but I doubt any of them are all to familiar with quantum computing. Reading a book on it certainly won't make you an expert. I'd like to see some real researches get some hands-on time, possibly after being given all the specifications/interfaces/whatever they needed to write controlling software - and give it a REAL workout.

Reply Score: 3

More info
by jimveta on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:40 UTC
jimveta
Member since:
2006-09-21

From Scientific American
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa001&articleID=BD4EFAA8-E7...

The quantum computer was given three problems to solve: searching for molecular structures that match a target molecule, creating a complicated seating plan, and filling in Sudoku puzzles.

Rose says D-Wave plans to submit its results for peer review at a major journal. He notes that experts will be given a chance to inspect the system, and that the company plans to make its prototype available online free of charge to stir interest. Users would enter a problem to be solved, and the device would send the solution from Canada.

Reply Score: 2

Not commercially viable yet
by JoeBuck on Wed 14th Feb 2007 01:59 UTC
JoeBuck
Member since:
2006-01-11

At the risk of crudely oversimplifying and getting things wrong, a quantum computer with N qubits acts something like 2**N (2 to the N'th power) severely restricted machines operating in parallel. 65,536 machines starts to get interesting, except for the complexity of setting up an operation and measuring the results. But it only has to get a little bit bigger (assuming it works, a big "if") to be interesting.

Reply Score: 4

So if D-Wave has one
by korpenkraxar on Wed 14th Feb 2007 07:19 UTC
korpenkraxar
Member since:
2005-09-10

...how many do the NSA have? :-)

Reply Score: 4

RE: So if D-Wave has one
by paul.michael.bauer on Wed 14th Feb 2007 15:59 UTC in reply to "So if D-Wave has one"
paul.michael.bauer Member since:
2005-07-06

D-Wade has one too. Charles Barkley is jealous.

Reply Score: 1

RE
by Kroc on Wed 14th Feb 2007 08:43 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

The scary thing is, that this technology is the first I've come across that is indestinguishable from magic.

Reply Score: 5

RE
by wirespot on Wed 14th Feb 2007 10:47 UTC in reply to "RE"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

That can be said about a lot of today's techology if you stop to think about it. It's just that we've become too used to it to notice. It stops looking like magic once you understand how it works, but how many of us can say that about everything?

Reply Score: 2

But
by korpenkraxar on Wed 14th Feb 2007 11:02 UTC
korpenkraxar
Member since:
2005-09-10

Does this mean I can kiss practical and affordable encryption and digital privacy goodbye? What algorithms and how long keys do I need to make messages problematic to a crack?

Isn't the timing for this just awful in this modern world of corporatism and dwindling government respect to human rights and privacy?

Will I be able to evaluate all possible phylogenetic trees that can be constructed with a hundred species/leafs, during a coffee-break on this machine?

How many thin clients can you run at the same time on quantum server?

Do we have digital storage capacity to match the volume of information that can be processed and generated?

Will it save us from global warming, biodiversity depletion, stock market crashes and jammed highways?

Can I... *head explodes*

Reply Score: 3

how many do the NSA have? :-)
by REMF on Wed 14th Feb 2007 11:41 UTC
REMF
Member since:
2006-02-05

i think it's fair to say that if commercial companies are finally able to offer quantum computers for sale, then the NSA has had working and usable equivalents for at least 10 years, and GCHQ for at least two years.

Reply Score: 1

Daughter card
by Dano on Wed 14th Feb 2007 11:54 UTC
Dano
Member since:
2006-01-22

So when can we get a PCI Express card with a Quantum co-processor on it? It would be a good add on for my new COre Duo 2 machine...

Dano

Reply Score: 2

RE: Daughter card
by SReilly on Wed 14th Feb 2007 12:23 UTC in reply to "Daughter card"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Lol! Would be very cool!

I'd like to see how many cats in boxes they could fit on a PCI-E card. I kinda get the impression that all the noise reduction steps I have taken will be negated by all the meowling.

I know of one person who would not be happy with this at all! When I tried to explain Schrödinger's problem to my girlfriend, she told me as a hypothetical question, it is a pill of sh*t and no longer wanted to hear any more nonsense from me.

The things a man puts up with for luv...

Reply Score: 1

Hey look at it go
by Jonix on Wed 14th Feb 2007 12:04 UTC
Jonix
Member since:
2007-02-14

... And we are still alive!

Reply Score: 1

IamScared
by IamScared on Wed 14th Feb 2007 15:04 UTC
IamScared
Member since:
2007-01-11

Quantum computing has nothing to do with quantum cryptography. Quantum cryptography relates to using using quantum mechanics to design a data stream that is impossible to be eavedropped on according to quantum physics. See Wikipedia[1] for more details.

In fact, quantum cryptography is already possible, but very expensive. The first commercial products based on the principle are already on the market.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_cryptography

PS: This subject should have been "Quantum encryption" ;)

Edited 2007-02-14 15:23

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: hmmm
by Tuishimi on Wed 14th Feb 2007 16:27 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Well, have a quantum computer and run vista in it, is as stupid as buy a ferrari for run faster and atach to it a trailer"

Ahhh, can you imagine how fast BeOS would run on it? Teapot would hit infinite frames/sec.

Reply Score: 3

NOT the end of "classic" crypto
by pedromatiello on Wed 14th Feb 2007 17:15 UTC
pedromatiello
Member since:
2005-07-13

Not a quantum computing expert here, nor a cryptography one, but, to my understanding, quantum computing does not necessarily turns actual cryptography useless.

Some argue that using longer keys might avoid brute force attacks. Also, quantum computers would solve BQP problems efficiently, not NP-complete ones. While integer factorization, used in many cryptographic systems, is in BQP - therefore possibly broken in a quantum computing context -, there is the possibility of using NP-complete problems for cryptography (although it would be slower).

As I said, I don't really understand what I'm talking about here. Don't take this as an expert's position.

Reply Score: 1

I see an opportunity
by bullethead on Wed 14th Feb 2007 17:42 UTC
bullethead
Member since:
2005-07-10

Whether or not I am the man for this (yes I am good at marketing, but programming (especially at this scale) I am not) will soon be seen.

Who here can actually make a development environment let alone a usable operating system for this for lack of a better term "architecture"?

I see a BIG opportunity for the brightest among us. Good luck, and if you need a class-A "suit" type to get your quantum os/dev project into the commercial sector I might be your man.

This has fantasic implications!

Reply Score: 1

RE: I see an opportunity
by smitty on Wed 14th Feb 2007 18:18 UTC in reply to "I see an opportunity"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

Running an OS on this just seems like a waste. Wouldn't it make more sense to run the OS on a "classical" computer and just use this as a coprocessor for quantum problems?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I see an opportunity
by bullethead on Wed 14th Feb 2007 20:07 UTC in reply to "RE: I see an opportunity"
bullethead Member since:
2005-07-10

Some problems need to be fully simulated using quantum logic from inception to execution. Problems such as observance and environment feedback / noise elimination would be better simulated using a quantum universe as the base. Perhaps this logic chip could be properly used with the brain simulators currently in development, which makes your point a cost effective solution. I still think however that if you have a solid operating foundation you can attack really complex problems.

Edited 2007-02-14 20:10

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: I see an opportunity
by thecwin on Wed 14th Feb 2007 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I see an opportunity"
thecwin Member since:
2006-01-04

Aren't Quantum Computer programs probabilistic in nature? I may have misunderstood, but I thought that you arrived at a solution for a problem by repeatedly executing problem and measuring the result until you get a reasonably accurate answer.

I think also that using standard program style logic is impossible, since you have to perform each part of the algorithm in exactly the same order every time. Writing a Quantum OS that functions in any way like an OS how you are used to them is probably impossible.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I see an opportunity
by smitty on Wed 14th Feb 2007 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I see an opportunity"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

Aren't Quantum Computer programs probabilistic in nature? I may have misunderstood, but I thought that you arrived at a solution for a problem by repeatedly executing problem and measuring the result until you get a reasonably accurate answer.

Yes, that's right. Although I assume the hardware itself automatically reruns the problem until it can say with certainty it has found the right one, but maybe this still depends on software.

Say goodbye to the digital age and welcome back the analog one.

Edited 2007-02-14 23:04

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: I see an opportunity
by chaosvoyager on Thu 15th Feb 2007 15:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I see an opportunity"
chaosvoyager Member since:
2005-07-06

"Aren't Quantum Computer programs probabilistic in nature?"

Yes, but technically digital computing is as well. The difference is that we don't use, and try to minimize, that property when computing something digitally. In fact, a digital system can be seen as nothing more than an analog system with ECC. The ECC helps to prevent 'errors', but when one occurs, it's typically catastrophic.

Much like what happens when you observe a closed quantum system before it's ready to be seen.

On the other hand we try to add that property back in certain applications that use floating point and randomization. FP gets less accurate the greater the magnitude (it was never designed for 'precise' results and you can't use it to 'drive' logic), and the current generation of graphics HW uses a lot of chip real estate to properly randomize rendered results. Such applications could benefit greatly in terms of heat, power, and speed from quantum computing.

Reply Score: 1

Any evidence other that a press release?
by sbergman27 on Wed 14th Feb 2007 18:24 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

Is there any real evidence beyond D-Wave's own press release, which is, to be polite, skimpy on details, that this is legit?

I perfected quantum computing in my basement last year (I think it was the week after I achieved cold fusion) and demonstrated it to my neighbors down the street. Should I have issued a press release?

Looks like a sham to me.

Edited 2007-02-14 18:32

Reply Score: 2

War Games
by Lousewort on Thu 15th Feb 2007 15:31 UTC
Lousewort
Member since:
2006-09-12

Ever seen the movie "war games" where the supercomputer figures out the launch codes for ICBM's?

As far as I can figure, this was an ideal graphic example of how a quantum computer "works". A register consisting of QBits approximates the correct answer to the problem within a given probability. The register values are possibly different each time, but probably close to the answer.

That is, the answer read from the register is almost but not quite always entirely correct. Due to the nature of the QBit, the size of the problem space covered by a single register is enormous.

Reading the register destroys it's contents, but reading the same answer from the register enough times increases the probability that the answer was the correct one.

Sounds as if quantum computing is a bit of a "shot in the dark". Science fiction is alive, guys, we're living it!

Edited 2007-02-15 15:51

Reply Score: 1