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Quantum Computer [1225]

de System Administrator - viernes, 8 de mayo de 2015, 20:31

A Quantum Computer Is a Delicate Beast: Video Tour of D-Wave’s Black Box (Part I)

By Jason Dorrier

Quantum computing is an old idea. But in the practical sense, it’s still very early days. If you actually want your own ready-made quantum computer—you won’t have to do much comparison shopping.

The D-Wave series of quantum computers have been making waves in recent years. USC and Lockheed Martin acquired a D-Wave One in 2011, and Google went in on a D-Wave Two with NASA in 2013.

But unless you're a cutting-edge researcher, you aren't likely to get a further glimpse behind the curtain. D-Wave wants to change that. So, they're releasing a series of videos explaining their system in more detail.

The D-Wave chip, which relies on a specialized form of quantum computing called quantum annealing, is comprised of tiny niobium loops. Current running through the loops creates magnetic fields. Counterclockwise current induces a field pointing up, clockwise a field pointing down. These are ‘0’ and ‘1’.

But it wouldn’t be much of a quantum computer if it stopped there. To achieve what’s known as superposition, when a qubit is both ‘0’ and ‘1’ simultaneously, the D-Wave chip must be cooled to temperatures approaching absolute zero (-273.15 C)—among the coldest places in the known universe.

"There's nothing in the natural world that gets you down to temperatures like this," Geordie Rose, D-Wave founder and CTO, said in

. "If there are no other intelligent life forms in the universe, these are the coldest places in the universe." Maintaining the conditions to make their invention work isn’t easy.

In a recent video (part one of a three part series) D-Wave vice president of processor development, Jeremy Hilton, takes us on a tour inside D-Wave’s black box—from radiation shielding to programming servers.