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Super-Cooled Quantum Computing Is Coming

Super-Cooled Quantum Computing Is Coming
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Quantum mechanics describes how nature works at a fundamental level. Using those principles to build a quantum computer doesn’t just mean working at the nanoscale level; it also means keeping everything cold enough to see quantum effects. That’s why D-Wave runs its Orion system at a temperature 250 times colder than interstellar space.

Last year the company had a 16-qubit quantum computer that founder and CTO Geordie Rose claimed was the most powerful quantum computer ever built and the first ever to run commercially-relevant applications. This year it has 28 qubits, it can recognise photos of famous landmarks – and you might soon be able to use it over the Web.

That’s far ahead of most other quantum computing developments and D-Wave has managed it by using semiconductor manufacturing techniques and existing chip fabs instead of optical circuits, quantum dots, laser containment or other approaches requiring exotic manufacturing techniques. D-Wave is also working on the other half of the problem; the programming tools for writing applications that take advantage of what quantum computing promises to deliver.

D-wave’s quantum processor is fixed at the bottom of the filtering and refrigeration unit; the whole structure is immersed in liquid helium that cools it to 3 Kelvin and the refrigeration unit then cools the chip to 10 milliKelvin.

Rose defines a quantum computer as “a machine that harnesses the language of nature at the most fundamental level to gain, in some cases, extremely impressive performance gains over conventional computers. Computers are constrained by the laws of physics; what you can do with information is no more than the laws of physics, when you operate at classical level. On a quantum computer, information processing is done on devices that obey the laws of quantum mechanics. These things can be very small and very cold, and they can be built out of exotic materials.”

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  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , July 24, 2008 12:45 PM
    Quantum computers process information with the "electron pairing" effect they naturally operate with, meaning it operates in such a way when one of the 28 bits is "doing something", it affects other parts of the chip in such a way they "do the same thing" naturally...it has very deep implications because it would basically SCALE LIKE CRAZY....NATURALLY....we are still in its infancy w/ 28 QBits, i dont even immagine what is will be like with 512...1024....a Giga QBit.....a Tera Q Bit.... they would all scale naturally... whatever we an do now whit it will be done faster and better when wider versions of the chip come out, withought the need to re-coding i immagine (Totally different from the way we program now with the current multi-core chips needing special programming to take advantage of more resources).- my 2 centz.
  • 10 Hide
    martin0642 , July 24, 2008 1:14 PM
    Games aren't really an area that would benefit directly from Quantum computing. The benefit is for other fields, like mathematics, communication, cracking encryption, physics. Quantum does not mean faster, it means they operate in a fundamentally different way and have different applications. Just like the stack of IBM QS22 Cell Blades next to me (Which don't even have video cards), they are for a totally different purpose and in some cases even if they could run a normal game might even be slower. High-Performance-Computing is a very different field, and it has to be specifically programmed for, which is why the article mentions they are advancing the new SDKs to allow things to run.

    My computers don't even have a real "OS", they have micro kernels which only have one program installed, and that program is specifically crafted to fit inside the 256KB of L2 Cache on the IBM Cell Processor to prevent the system having to page regular, slow, system RAM.

    The stuff is written in C, and then hand-tuned in assembler.

    That does not mean the development is not exciting, its just that like most major science changes, the action is far from the end user and it will take products a while to trickle down to something we use everyday. Ironically, by the time it gets to us, most people will have no idea which technologies brought them to fruition in the first place.
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    magicandy , July 24, 2008 9:14 AM
    I still wish someone would explain exactly how quantum mechanics and quantum computers work. Do they actually defy the laws of physics or what? I didn't think that was possible.....
  • -1 Hide
    magicandy , July 24, 2008 9:15 AM
    I meant to say "in layman's terms"
  • -9 Hide
    Anonymous , July 24, 2008 10:13 AM
    This is some wild funky alien technology sh#t... Yeeeehaaa!
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , July 24, 2008 12:45 PM
    Quantum computers process information with the "electron pairing" effect they naturally operate with, meaning it operates in such a way when one of the 28 bits is "doing something", it affects other parts of the chip in such a way they "do the same thing" naturally...it has very deep implications because it would basically SCALE LIKE CRAZY....NATURALLY....we are still in its infancy w/ 28 QBits, i dont even immagine what is will be like with 512...1024....a Giga QBit.....a Tera Q Bit.... they would all scale naturally... whatever we an do now whit it will be done faster and better when wider versions of the chip come out, withought the need to re-coding i immagine (Totally different from the way we program now with the current multi-core chips needing special programming to take advantage of more resources).- my 2 centz.
  • -7 Hide
    Anonymous , July 24, 2008 12:45 PM
    Quantum computers process information with the "electron pairing" effect they naturally operate with, meaning it operates in such a way when one of the 28 bits is "doing something", it affects other parts of the chip in such a way they "do the same thing" naturally...it has very deep implications because it would basically SCALE LIKE CRAZY....NATURALLY....we are still in its infancy w/ 28 QBits, i dont even immagine what is will be like with 512...1024....a Giga QBit.....a Tera Q Bit.... they would all scale naturally... whatever we an do now whit it will be done faster and better when wider versions of the chip come out, withought the need to re-coding i immagine (Totally different from the way we program now with the current multi-core chips needing special programming to take advantage of more resources).- my 2 centz.
  • 1 Hide
    the last resort , July 24, 2008 12:46 PM
    basically, a quantum computer does not have to do "work" to get an answer. The "work" it does involves electrons and atoms. The problem is, is that when the "computer" reads the atoms/electrons, they are destroyed. So, the data can only be read once. But as mentioned in the article, code cracking would be very easy, as the computer would only have to work with one atom. Basically, the future quantum computer will be able to crack any code, instantly.
  • 3 Hide
    J-Rad , July 24, 2008 12:49 PM
    "I still wish someone would explain exactly how quantum mechanics and quantum computers work. Do they actually defy the laws of physics or what? I didn't think that was possible....."

    Quantum Physics are laws that are far more complex than regular everyday Physics. They do not defy but rather redefine and enhance our understanding of physics at a much smaller scale (Smaller than atom size)
  • 10 Hide
    martin0642 , July 24, 2008 1:14 PM
    Games aren't really an area that would benefit directly from Quantum computing. The benefit is for other fields, like mathematics, communication, cracking encryption, physics. Quantum does not mean faster, it means they operate in a fundamentally different way and have different applications. Just like the stack of IBM QS22 Cell Blades next to me (Which don't even have video cards), they are for a totally different purpose and in some cases even if they could run a normal game might even be slower. High-Performance-Computing is a very different field, and it has to be specifically programmed for, which is why the article mentions they are advancing the new SDKs to allow things to run.

    My computers don't even have a real "OS", they have micro kernels which only have one program installed, and that program is specifically crafted to fit inside the 256KB of L2 Cache on the IBM Cell Processor to prevent the system having to page regular, slow, system RAM.

    The stuff is written in C, and then hand-tuned in assembler.

    That does not mean the development is not exciting, its just that like most major science changes, the action is far from the end user and it will take products a while to trickle down to something we use everyday. Ironically, by the time it gets to us, most people will have no idea which technologies brought them to fruition in the first place.
  • -2 Hide
    jeb1517 , July 24, 2008 1:30 PM
    I wonder how fast an E8500 could run at -270ºC.
  • 4 Hide
    hurbt , July 24, 2008 1:59 PM
    jeb1517I wonder how fast an E8500 could run at -270ºC.


    You might have a good idea when the OC competition ensues. I'm sure you'll have some guys throwing -200C nitrogen at 8500's.
  • -2 Hide
    wingless , July 24, 2008 3:15 PM
    One question: Does it overclock? That cooler should at least allow for a 30% overclock...
  • 1 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , July 24, 2008 3:18 PM
    I want one!
  • -6 Hide
    killian101 , July 24, 2008 3:29 PM
    this is all good and fine. Will it play Crysis
  • 0 Hide
    wingless , July 24, 2008 3:43 PM
    Intel will buy them in after they make all that profit from Nehalem and release quantum computers for commercial use as soon as they figure out how to make a "safe", commercially viable, 3 Kelvin refrigeration units. Coolermaster will then release a 2 Kelvin unit for overclockers 3 months later...

    Unfortunately it will NOT be able to play Crysis at 60FPS.
  • 2 Hide
    arunmohancr , July 24, 2008 3:49 PM
    Reaching temperature as mentioned above would lead to super conductivity . Which people are yet to incorporate in daily usage . This is no area for child's play (games)
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 24, 2008 5:51 PM
    maybe the crysis problem wont be solved but i bet that i will finaly see
    duke nukem 3d run at 954,555 fps!! that is, my friends, is what they call... THE S#$%!
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