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Google Supercomputing

Google Demonstrates Quantum Computer Image Search 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the superposition-of-evil-and-not-evil dept.
An anonymous reader sends along this quote from New Scientist: "Google's web services may be considered cutting edge, but they run in warehouses filled with conventional computers. Now the search giant has revealed it is investigating the use of quantum computers to run its next generation of faster applications. Writing on Google's research blog this week, Hartmut Neven, head of its image recognition team, reveals that the Californian firm has for three years been quietly developing a quantum computer that can identify particular objects in a database of stills or video (PDF). Google has been doing this, Neven says, with D-Wave, a Canadian firm that has developed an on-chip array of quantum bits — or qubits — encoded in magnetically coupled superconducting loops."
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Google Demonstrates Quantum Computer Image Search

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  • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:19AM (#30422700) Homepage Journal

    http://royal.pingdom.com/2008/04/11/map-of-all-google-data-center-locations/ [pingdom.com]

    "Google secrecy

    Google has made it difficult both to find out where they keep their data centers and how many they have. One big reason for this is that almost all IP addresses that Google uses (and there are a lot of them) are listed to their Mountain View, California address, so just looking at IP addresses (with IP WHOIS or IP-to-location databases) won’t help you figure out where their data centers are or how many they have.

    In addition to this, Google usually seeks permits for their data center projects using companies (LLCs) that don’t mention Google at all, for example Lapis LLC in North Carolina and Tetra LLC in Iowa.

    Since Google tends to be quite secretive about their data centers in general, the information we have presented here most likely isn’t 100% complete"

    • by Sebilrazen (870600) <blahsebilrazen@blah.com> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:37AM (#30422838)

      In addition to this, Google usually seeks permits for their data center projects using companies (LLCs) that don’t mention Google at all, for example Lapis LLC in North Carolina and Tetra LLC in Iowa.

      That's not a Google thing, that's a standard practice. I know for sure AT&T does it, Global Switch [globalswitch.com] in Amsterdam is one of the locations that AT&T has set up operations.

    • by Pflipp (130638) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:37PM (#30423570)

      Google has made it difficult both to find out where they keep their data centers and how many they have.

      Well, you can get to know either, but just not both at the same time.

      That's quantum for ya.

      • Google has made it difficult both to find out where they keep their data centers and how many they have.

        Well, you can get to know either, but just not both at the same time.

        That's quantum for ya.

        Does that imply that if you observe the location of one, they either build a new one or tear one down? More amusingly, if you figure out how many they have, all of the existing ones move to new locations.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      well duh it's common for big DC's to do this its part of the pysical security for years all BT's Datacentres had no external sinage as they where bomb targets.
    • Remember when Google went public and you wondered if they were going to be able to make money? I mean, yeah, it's a smart company, but they were just a search engine and so many other tech IPOs were based in fantasy.

      I'm so proud of them. We actually got a research company out of the internet boom. Having Google around easily replaces the loss of creative shops like Sun. I guess Google is on the level of Microsoft and IBM now.

      Yeah it's fun to call them SkyNet or whatever, but as long as you're doin
  • Noooooo (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamapizza (1312801) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:19AM (#30422706)

    ... for three years been quietly developing a quantum computer that can identify particular objects in a database of stills or video

    I call foul - they're changing the results by observing it!

  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:22AM (#30422742) Journal
    That would be an interesting departure from their usual "cheap commodity whiteboxes" strategy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That would be an interesting departure from their usual "cheap commodity whiteboxes" strategy

      In the short term, yes. In the long term, perhaps not. On the scale of things Google they're likely to turn into "cheap commodity quantum whiteboxes".

      Either that, or everybody will be able to use the same one simultaneously.

      I project there will be a world need for five of them. None of them will need more than 640k and there will be no need for a personal version in the home.

  • Oh no, not D-Wave. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Interoperable (1651953) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:29AM (#30422784)

    I trust Google not to do anything unbelievably stupid (a bit silly perhaps, but nothing too absurd) but thinking that D-Wave can make a quantum computer is a very, very bad idea. Now it sounds like Google has been working on the algorithm side and I suspect that they're doing good work. The trouble is that D-Wave is doing the hardware. This is a company that has yet to demonstrate any success whatsoever.

    They frequently release press updates saying that they have added more bits to the machine but they have never shown it to work for even a small number of bits. The physicists who developed the idea of an adiabatic quantum computer say that D-Wave seems to have misinterpreted their theory to make unrealistic claims and the whole thing is regarded as a bit of a joke in the physics community.

    That said, developing the algorithms is a worthwhile thing to do so Google may not be relying on D-Wave to justify their research. I hope not. D-Wave may actually be on to something big that they haven't revealed to the scientific community, but probably not.

    • by phme (1501991) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:46AM (#30422908)
      TFA seems to imply the chip is actually working:

      The hardware used in the experiment is an early generation Chimera chip where 52 of the 128 qubits were functioning.

    • by Interoperable (1651953) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:48AM (#30422922)
      Sorry to reply to my own comment but I should add a link [scottaaronson.com]. It covers, in non technical language, the some of the objections to D-Waves claims, what kind of dubious science their people do and what is bull**** that the marketing people flat out invent. It is only one person's perspective but the guy is very, very capable of evaluating statements made by D-Wave.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm sure, before paterning with them, google googled "d-wave tech +bullshit"
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As such, I can’t directly evaluate D-Wave’s central claim to have built an adiabatic quantum computer, nor have I ever tried to do so.

        Unfortunately he can't evaluate the only statements that really matter. An overzealous marketing team means little.

      • Scott Aaronson is not a physicist nor an engineer so therefore is not the best commentator on hardware development. He clashes with others at MIT, like Dr. T. Olando, who have designed qubits. Moreover, the link posted in two years out of date.

        Re: “The physicists who developed the idea of an adiabatic quantum computer say that D-Wave seems to have misinterpreted their theory to make unrealistic claims and the whole thing is regarded as a bit of a joke in the physics community.” Not exactly an

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JamesP (688957)

      Yes, I'm sure people at Google would just pour money for three years in the first bozo that claims quantum computing without checking the validity of its claims

      We demonstrate a detector that has learned to spot cars by looking at example pictures. It was trained with adiabatic quantum optimization using a D-Wave C4 Chimera chip. There are still many open questions but in our experiments we observed that this detector performs better than those we had trained using classical solvers running on the computers we have in our data centers today

      For the looks of it D-Wave is totally a scam... NOT

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by pifactorial (1000403)
        Yeah, my first thought was basically, "Ah, Google got a hold of them. That explains why they've been quiet for so long." It's kind of funny that even Google admits they don't quite know what's going on ("various institutions are still in the process of characterizing the chip"), but the fact that it actually, you know, works, has to count for something.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ldg (737814)
          If you were to make a "quantum leap" that made quantum computing practical, it might behoove you to send mixed signals with your PR. You would want to attract the attention of a buyer who is: 1. aggressively seeking 2. able to pay for, and 3. able to roll out such technology; and you would want to be able to offer something like exclusivity to that buyer. But your public demonstrations would have reduced your competitors' R&D costs, by proving that such a thing is possible. If you "throw" your publi
          • Of course, a much cheaper strategy that would work equally well in getting your hands on investment money, would be to skip the quantum research stuff, and jump directly to the sensationalistic lies.

            • by ldg (737814)

              I agree that mere lies sometimes suffice to get what one wants. And I remember what John D. Rockefeller did when he learned his shoeshine boy was trading stocks. But D-Wave somehow got the collaboration of Google. Should we speculate that Google's collaboration is, in turn, another PR stunt? I won't discount that possibility, though personally I tend to give Google more credit than that.

              If you have only part of a system, your only options are to publish or patent. If you have the whole system, trade sec

              • Big Companies have been scammed. According to my experience big companies are a primary target for scammers, because sucess gives the scammer credit. And you will always find someone making your kind of comment, that it can't be a scam because big company C could not be fooled. This means that the scammer is motivated to invest hevily in the scam of a big company.
                By going public on its involvement in Google, D-Wave has now secured it will be able to find a new victim after Google. D-Wave will never deliver

                • by ldg (737814)

                  You might recall that I didn't state categorically that Google couldn't be fooled. I do agree that, since big companies have nore credibility, there is more motivation to scam them. And maybe they are more tempted to scam others as well.

                  But it seems you are asserting that Google has in fact been scammed in this particular case.

                  Perhaps. Personally I don't know. To me it looks as if Google is presenting a paper claiming that it has accomplished something surprising with the D-Wave chip that others have been

                  • No, I don't agree.

                    When I read your first comment, I re-read it twice to make sure I understood you correctly. Then I copied it to some fellow scam spotters.

                    In your mailing you set something of an inofficial world record in self delusion -- you are fully aware D-Wave is full of lies. But you manage to twist it into being part of a strategy that actually proves they are for real.

                    Wishful thinking is the con man's greatest accomplice.

                    You say don't know if it is a scam. I can tell you right now that you never wi

                    • by ldg (737814)

                      More and more, I read about what other people are doing only to be entertained; fringe science material serves that function for me that science fiction used to serve.

                      I guess I think that the bleeding edge of high tech, in a world run by corrupt institutions, has little potential to improve my life beyond amusement.

                      And yes, certainly, in an increasingly complex (and thus increasingly inherently fragile and corruptible) world, like today's, we really can't be too careful about scams. Insisting that claims b

        • >the fact that it actually, you know, works, has to count for something.

          The Mechanical Turk worked really well for playing chess.
      • by Interoperable (1651953) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:30PM (#30423156)

        Wait until all the data's in. I suspect this will revealed to be a coincidence; perhaps not, but I still believe that to be likely. In any case, search for D-Wave and have a read through the link I posted in my follow-up. D-Wave has made some completely incorrect statements in the past and a few out-and-out lies. Maybe they have pulled off what they claim, but there are some very valid doubts raised by the leading researchers in the field. They have certainly never proved quantum operation in a public demonstration.

        From TFA:

        Finally, we mention that the experiments presented here were not designed to test the quantumness of the hardware. Results of such tests will be reported elsewhere.

        Wait until those tests are published in a public forum and are analyzed by experts (not ./ers) before assuming that they in any way have a quantum computer.

        • by JamesP (688957)

          D-Wave has made some completely incorrect statements in the past and a few out-and-out lies.

          Agreed

          Maybe they have pulled off what they claim, but there are some very valid doubts raised by the leading researchers in the field.

          I've read the link you posted, and IMHO it's looking good for d-wave (I mean, not "shining, will change the world tomorrow" but still not looking like a flat-out scam, especially with that audience)

          Finally, we mention that the experiments presented here were not designed to test the quantumness
          of the hardware. Results of such tests will be reported elsewhere.

          Darn researchers that put the most important phrase of the article in the end!

          Anyway, my guess is that QC is happening, but in a way they don't account for... (but that's just my IMHO guess)

      • by bperkins (12056)

        As the GP says, what D-Wave is claiming is pretty much not physically possible. And what they've demonstrated is possible to emulate with classical computers.

        That Google is working with them is interesting. But D-Wave still looks exactly like an investment scam.

        • Beyond D-wave being an investment scam, I still need a proper explanation of how quantum effects are going to speed up computers.

          Just because a qubit can be in many places at once, can you actually measure it tho? Or will it decohere with the right answer? I'd love to have a calculator where I just press "equals" and it already knows the answer because it was programmed with the question. How do you do that?

          In TFA, Google says to do a linear search on 1 million cells, the average physical time is 5
      • by Thelasko (1196535)
        Yes, that post really implies that Google has access to one of these quantum chips, and has tested it. If this is true, this is HUGE news.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How fortunate for Google that they have you to reveal the truth. I'm sure a multinational company specializing in information technology never thought of that.

      • Google may be just making a high stakes gamble - they can afford it. D-wave appears to be a typical case of science meets marketing. Marketing wildly distorts the results - but that doesn't necessarily mean that there is no science.

        Personally I'd be surprised if quantum computing can be made practical - quantum states are very fragile, but its not impossible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:37AM (#30422828)

    Google SSL: Search for SSL keys, kindly recovered by Google using quantum computers.

  • Well, there goes encryption. (To oversimplify. To quote an honest prof, "I was trying to decide between ease of understanding and truth." Disclaimer: My understanding too.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Apparently, there also goes... spelling...

      (Ease bit: quantum computers tend to be specialized for particular algorithms, and we should be moving on to one-time pads anyway (Which are theoretically unbreakable absent social engineering or major design flaw), with some kind of automated exchange of random data whenever we physically visit our banks.)

      • we should be moving on to one-time pads anyway (Which are theoretically unbreakable absent social engineering or major design flaw

        Unfortunately, the bad flaw of one-time pads is that they can be copied.

        • by selven (1556643)

          Can you please elaborate on this? Are you talking about people carelessly using one time pads twice? Or some other vulnerability?

      • How could OTPs help me encrypt my hard disks?

        • I suppose one could sell hard disks with USB keys that contain random data matching a built-in datastore on the disk that one needs to access the disk or some-such; but OTPs are basically meant for encryption of communication, not local encryption of data. There are hybrid models and I'd imagine theoretical equivalence I won't think about right now. The classic example is embassy communication, where you don't want what you're saying to ever be decrypted. Have a courier deliver a DVD of random data, one
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:42AM (#30422866)

    Will faux "quantum computing" become the next over-hyped marketing "strategy" of numerous vendors, much like "cloud computing" has become? Will we be subjected to endless presentations, advertisements, adverblogs, promotions and webcasts about how fantastic it is, even though it doesn't deliver on any of its promises?

    I sure as fuck hope not. It's difficult enough already at my company just getting a simple web server set up. We spend more time fighting off idiot managers who insist we just use "the cloud" and the server will just magically happen.

    • Well, you can always tell your company that the computers you plan to buy utilize quantum mechanics to do their calculation. And you'll not even be lying: The transistor, base element of any digital electronics, indeed is based on quantum mechanics.

    • What about middleware? How's that one going?

      I'll be damned if I even remember what it was. I think I wrote some of it though.
  • That summary sounded like a sci-fi movie plot. I hope it works as they claim, that would be extremely neat. With all the money google has they should do serious investment in AI and nanorobotics, two technologies which could probably solve every physical problem (disease, aging, poverty, etc.) problems humans have. The government spends a few million but it's not enough, and it seems no one at the big corporations knows/gives a damn about this. O well, maybe one day.
  • Google oggles (Score:1, Insightful)

    by HKcastaway (985110)

    ...to for Google to best look at the pictures in your drive.

  • by Eric S. Smith (162) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:17PM (#30423056) Homepage

    I'm sorry, this looks like something that was thrown out of an early draft of Johnny Mnemonic:

    adiabatic quantum algorithm by magnetically coupling superconducting loops called rf-squid flux qubits.

    Not only can I not tell if they're serious, I can't even tell if that means anything.

    The math they present, or even the math on the Wikipedia page for Grover's algorithm, is also completely beyond me. I blame Alan Turing for all of this: if he'd cracked Nazi codes with poetry instead of with math, I'd probably be able to understand computer science.

    As it is, I have to assign a probability p=0.5 to Google posting another blog entry tomorrow in which they admit to making the whole thing up and being tempted to include a reference to "Cookie Monster's postulate" along side "Grover's algorithm".

    • It means something: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQUID [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      if you did an undergraduate physics degree, I'd be surprised if you didn't know what all of those words mean. They can all be wikid (not sure I like that word)...

      • They can all be wikid (not sure I like that word)...

        I'm sure I don't like the word. A wiki is a general web site technology. Saying "to wiki" for looking up things at Wikipedia is like saying "to slashcode" for reading about things on Slashdot, because Slashdot runs on Slashcode.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      The math they present, or even the math on the Wikipedia page for Grover's algorithm, is also completely beyond me. I blame Alan Turing for all of this: if he'd cracked Nazi codes with poetry instead of with math, I'd probably be able to understand computer science.

      You have obviously never studied Ezra Pound [wikipedia.org] or T.S. Eliot. [tripod.com]

    • >I'm sorry, this looks like something that was thrown out of an early draft of Johnny Mnemonic: adiabatic quantum algorithm by magnetically coupling superconducting loops called rf-squid flux qubits.

      Isn't it nice not to have autism? The physics experts at the D-Wave convention wouldn't know. I like the guy who said "all those words have meanings." Yeah, but you have to try and make a sentence out of them.

      Autism: When you can't see the forest for the trees.
    • by da cog (531643)

      Amazingly enough, that phrase really does mean something. :-)

      "adiabatic quantum algorithm" = algorithm that works by initializing a quantum system into a ground state and then slowly (== "adiabatically") changing the interactions of the system so that the final ground state contains an encoded version of the solution

      "magnetically coupling" = the interactions between the "qubits" in the system are magnetic, which means that they physically want to "line up" (or anti-"line up") with each other just like regul

  • Detail Search (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nanospook (521118) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:21PM (#30423076)
    What would be really useful is if the software can "recognize" details about an image without a human doing so. E.g. Is a car, with red paint, certain model. Is a girl, white tshirt, nipples are showing, hair is in a bun, looks like a dancer, recognized as "this" individual, Then searchers can really search for images that fit patterns and find them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ZeroExistenZ (721849)

      Is a girl, white tshirt, nipples are showing, hair is in a bun ... Then searchers can really search for images that fit patterns and find them.

      She's gone man, cherish the memory of that chick at the pool. No quantum computer will bring her back so you can "facebook" her :P

  • by Sleen (73855) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:28PM (#30423126)

    Hi, there are some excellent introductory lectures as an introduction to quantum computing here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I56UugZ_8DI [youtube.com]

    Given by Hartmut Neven with a guest appearance from D-Wave on day 2. Watch all of the them including day 3!

    Fascinating topic, though quickly delivered and worth further study and above all experimentation.

    It awesome that google supports work like this.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by gtall (79522)

      What's "awesome" about Google supporting work like this? It doesn't inspire any awe that a company with money out the wazoo is spending some of it in blue sky research to keep themselves from being Binged.

      • by Sleen (73855)

        I think its awesome because google has a track record of doing and succeeding as opposed to doing and failing. Though that is entirely my viewpoint. Not everything they do works, but quite often it does and sometimes very well. I also don't think they have money out the wazoo. A few of the individuals perhaps, but google itself is expensive. The cost in energy per search is absolutely not an imaginary figure and it is directly exposed to the cost of energy as available in the municipalities they operat

  • If only the thing would keep working after someone looks at the search results for "cat"...
  • finally (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Finally some technology from google that is not some trivial extension of existing stuff...
    I guess it will be long though, before we can expect our flying cars...

    • Trivial extension? Google has taken everything on the desktop and re-written it for the web. It's not even an extension. They've undertaken a massive port.
  • If Google is capable of this what do you think the NSA and friends are capable of?

    • by Jeremi (14640) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @03:19PM (#30424242) Homepage

      If Google is capable of this what do you think the NSA and friends are capable of?

      I'm confused -- I thought government was a bunch of hopelessly incompetent bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, stifling Free Enterprise, and making baby Atlas shrug. Does it turn out that they are super-elite technical wizards, after all?

      • Wouldn't the real conspiracy be for the government to tell everyone about all the things they screw up, and keep all the successes on the down-low, so as to make everyone think that they simply are incapable of doing anything right?

        • It's been done, actually. Check out the fed computer system that never gets finished. Do you really think they would go 15 years without a proper update? Feds like their toys just as much as we do.
      • > I'm confused -- I thought government was a bunch of hopelessly incompetent
        > bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, stifling Free Enterprise,
        > and making baby Atlas shrug.

        Only if you are "right wing". If you are "left wing" government is a bunch of hopelessly incompetent bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, knuckling under to the vile corporations, and making baby Marx shrug.

        > Does it turn out that they are super-elite technical wizards, after all?

        Just when doing evil.

        • by dylan_- (1661)

          > I'm confused -- I thought government was a bunch of hopelessly incompetent
          > bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, stifling Free Enterprise,
          > and making baby Atlas shrug.

          Only if you are "right wing". If you are "left wing" government is a bunch of hopelessly incompetent bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, knuckling under to the vile corporations, and making baby Marx shrug.

          I must have a quantum government, because they appear to be both at once!
          (At least, until I observe

  • From what I've read, this is weakly analogous to an ADC.... Let's call it a QDC.

    They've basically taken quantum interaction and converted or translated the interaction into a binary format. Like taking an analog sine wave and converting it into binary. Only much more complex.

    The resulting 'trained' binary system runs conventionally, but is much better than anything someone would've written by 'hand'.

  • by da cog (531643) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @03:28PM (#30424302)

    The problem with D-Wave’s approach is that it is not clear how well it can scale. Their adiabatic strategy involves starting in the ground state of one physical system, transforming it into another system very slowly ( “adiabatically” == very slowly), and then hoping that they stay in the ground state all the way to the end of the procedure; if they succeed in this, then they can read out the new state and they have the answer that they want.

    The problem is that this only works as long as it is hard for the system to bump itself up into an excited state. However, as you attack larger and larger problems, the “energy gap” between the ground state and the first excited state shrinks exponentially with the size of the problem, greatly increasing the probability that you won’t end up with the right answer at the end of the computation.

    In order to get around this problem, you need to do two things. First, you need to cool the system down so that its temperature is less than the energy gap. However, D-Wave’s cooling system does not accomplish this --- their temperature is too high. In fact, they freely admit that their temperature is larger than the energy gap, it’s just that they are gambling that in practice they can get away with it.

    Second, you need to run the transformation very slowly --- at a speed that is roughly proportionate to the size of the energy gap. This might also turn out to case problems for D-Wave as they start scaling up their system to attack useful problems. Furthermore, although they have demonstrated a case where their computer shows a speedup over classical algorithms, this should be taken with a great of salt because as I understand it they basically applied their algorithm in a case where conditions favored it. (Mind you, that isn’t in itself a bad thing --- it is good to understand the conditions under which an existing quantum computer can ever beat an existing classical computer; given the infancy status of the field, I amazed that this can be done at all!)

    So in short: no, D-Wave is not a scam, but they are taking a gamble that certain theoretical problems will not bite them in practice, and most QC researches tend to believe that they will lose this gamble even though we hope that they will win it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pddo (969282)
      Just out of interest - who is competing against D-Wave in this space?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by da cog (531643)

        No one, really --- at least, none that I am aware of. Most of the technology is still very much in its infancy, so nobody else is making a big push to turn it into a product yet. Having said that, I suppose it is possible that the NSA has a secret quantum computer and is using it to break our codes even as we speak, though I don't know if that counts as an economic competitor.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Disclaimer: i am from the QC field (not at D-Wave) but here i am yet another Anonymous Coward.

          a) I consider it highly unlikely that the NSA has a secret quantum computer. All techologies which i know are 15-30 years from a working QC. i would believe if somebody tells me that the NSA has something which is 5 years more advanced, but not much more.

          b) The field of QC is so patent-ridden that it should be easy for you to find out to whom d-wave is a competitor - and about multiple qubit interactions which are

          • (it is my personal estimation that it is impossible to build a superconducting QC without hitting one of their patents).

            That's assuming the first working commercial superconducting QC appears before their patents expire.

          • by da cog (531643)

            a) I consider it highly unlikely that the NSA has a secret quantum computer. All techologies which i know are 15-30 years from a working QC. i would believe if somebody tells me that the NSA has something which is 5 years more advanced, but not much more.

            I concur with your assessment on this; I was mostly kidding when I suggested the NSA might have one.

          • “I dont understand why d-wave causes so much stir in the qubit community.” It appears to be a two way cultural war.

            The first axis is between theoretical computer science types and hardware types. The CS types don’t need a real quantum computer for their field to exist. Indeed, the existence of a real computer will cause them to (re)address the physical axioms on which their esoteric quantum computing schemes are based. Don’t forget focus on adiabatic quantum compute is the nail in th

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @06:17PM (#30425632)
    Test User: OK, so what you're saying is that if I search for lolcats using Google's quantum image search, it will give me an array of lolcat images to choose from, but until I open the image we won't know if the lolcat is funny or not funny? That makes sense.

    Google Scientist: Actually, before you look at the image the lolcat is in a state of superposition. Before your look at the photo it can be both funny AND not funny. By the act of you observing the photo it settles into one of those two states.

    Test user: So there's a 50/50 chance of the exact same photo being funny or not funny?

    Google Scientist: Essentially yes. Well, unless you go by the "many worlds" model, which states that if you look at the picture, you become entangled with the lolcat, so that the observation of the humor of the lolcat, and the actual humor of the lolcat are joined together. There will exist a universe where you find the image funny, and a universe where you find the image not funny, but these two universes cannot inform each other of these two different states.

    Test User: I think I understand.

    Google Scientist: Go ahead, click on one of the images from the search.

    Test User: Now, you're sure nothing bad will happen? No black holes will open up or anything?

    Google Scientist (amused): Yes, I'm absolutely sure.

    Test User: OK, I'll try this one. [cheezburger.com]

    (The user clicks the image.)

    Test User: OH NOES! (faints.)
  • quantum bits — or qubits — encoded in magnetically coupled superconducting loops

    You just can't make this stuff up.

  • Yes, but will it make me toast?

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

Working...