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NASA backs quantum computing demonstration


NASA has confirmed that it built a quantum computer under contract for Canadian startup company D-Wave Systems Inc. after D-Wave was accused of faking a recent demonstration to businesses and academia. During a demonstration last month, the company revealed that its 16 qubit (more qubits = more processes) quantum processor had been left back at the company's offices, and therefore the test would be show via an internet link. According to D-Wave CEO Ed Martin, "businesses aren't too fascinated about the details of quantum mechanics": unfortunately, a group of industry experts were interested, and they made their skepticism clear. The result is NASA's confirmation that it did in fact construct D-Wave's quantum processor design under contract; a confirmation that most people will be inclined to accept. The underlying technology shown in the demonstration was the use of a normal digital processor in conjunction with a quantum chip, which D-Wave hopes will enable commercial applications of quantum computing. D-Wave is planning to up its design from 16 qubits to 1,024 qubits by the end of 2008, a rather controversial aim for some that think practical quantum computing is still up to a decade away. There's gotta be something about quantum computing that puts scientists on edge: perhaps it's the platform's potential to make all current forms of encryption obsolete ...

[Via Slashdot]

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