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D-Wave Two: The Next Generation of Quantum Computers

Tech Talker reviews the D-Wave Two - the newest quantum computer that's changing the way we process information.

By
Eric Escobar,
February 24, 2014

It hasn’t been too long since my episode on quantum computers, but there are already new developments in the field! There is now a second generation of D-Wave computer on the market called the D-Wave Two (code name Vesuvius).

The newest wave (ha!) of quantum computing has a 512 qubit processor which is 4 times more qubits than its predecessor. Logically you would think, "Wow that means it’s 4 times faster!"

That’s where the math gets sticky. With a normal computer, doubling the amount of processing speed means that you can do twice as many calculations in the same amount of time. With quantum computers, due to the property of superposition (which Everday Einstein discussed in detail), the increase is exponential!

Essentially the way it’s laid out means that each quibit can talk with 6 other qubits, so when you do all the math (don’t worry I’ll spare you), it comes out to be around 300,000 times faster than the first D-Wave.

It's tempting to call the D-Wave Two a supercomputer, but that would be a mistake. This is because almost all supercomputers are built for very specific tasks, such as modeling the Big Bang, crunching tons of weather data, or even simulating protein folding.

This would be like comparing an Olympic sprinter to an Olympic swimmer! Both are amazing at what they do, but not directly comparable.

The kicker is that the D-Wave Two can grow exponentially in speed which is nowhere near its maximum yet.

I expect that in the coming years, later revisions of the D-Wave will be thousands of times faster! And then, you never know.....

Image courtesy of D-Wave.

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