Friday, February 23, 2007

D-Wave's Orion: The first practical quantum computer

It still doesn't work properly, but well, it is a start. I am optimistic and I think it's a matter of 5-10 years (not half a century as some think!) to get it to solve all existing Sudoku puzzles in seconds, for instance (although there are much more important things one could do with a quantum computer than solve Sudoku...). Here's the website of "D-Wave Systems", the Canadian 'Quantum Computing Company' that created the first, 16-qubit, "Orion" processor (many also hope that D-Wave will start in Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada, in close collaboration with University of British Columbia, what "Fairchild Semiconductor" started in Silicon Valley, California, USA, in collaboration with Stanford University). And here's a short (free) article about it, in the Scientific American (the latest print edition of the Economist also had an article on it- subscription required). And here's (only if you're still not bored and want to read some quantum 'theory' about superposition, entanglement, decoherence, error-correcting codes etc.) a very short "scene-setting" article (in PDF) on fighting decoherence, with particular applications to quantum computing and quantum communicating, which I wrote for one of my Quantum Physics courses in Utrecht, back in 2000 (don't judge my English in there, I admit it was pretty awful...hopefully it is better in my current articles :-)).

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