Google tests the performance limits of D-Wave's quantum computers

D-Wave quantum computers at Google

We've long known that D-Wave's quantum computers are specialized tools rather than Swiss Army Knives, but just how good are they at their intended tasks? Google has just conducted some benchmarking to find out, and the short answer is that these systems are very good -- but they have definite limits. A current-generation D-Wave 2 is about 35,500 times faster than a generalized problem-solving computer when both are running standard software. However, some of that advantage disappears when a general-purpose computer runs code that simulates quantum computing. While D-Wave's hardware is better at dealing with structured code, it runs neck-and-neck with the "fake" system when tackling random problems. Not that Google is feeling much in the way of buyer's remorse. It believes that further tests could see the D-Wave unit come out ahead, and future quantum machines should make it harder for conventional PCs to catch up.