Google puts the D-Wave 2 quantum computer to the test

By on January 21, 2014, 2:45 PM
google, quantum computing, nasa, d-wave, quantum computers

Last year it was revealed that Google and NASA were teaming up to build a quantum computing laboratory based on a system from D-Wave. The 512 qubit D-Wave 2 quantum computer has since been installed and Google was kind enough to recently share some benchmarking results from the machine.

In early testing, Google used random instances and put the machine against popular off-the-shelf solvers (Tabu Search, Akmaxsat and CPLEX). The search giant found the D-Wave system (at 509 qubits) was about 35,500 times faster than the best off-the-shelf solver which is certainly impressive. But it’s worth pointing out that the competitors are simply general-purpose solvers and things certainly look different when an optimized system is used.

That is exactly what Google did next with the help of two world-class teams and the results are a mixed bag. The optimized machines were able to keep pace with the D-Wave and sometimes even outperform it but the inverse is also true: the quantum system sometimes beats the optimized machines.

The team believes that classical solvers are still competitive right now because the qubits in the D-Wave are still only sparsely connected. As the connectivity in future versions of quantum annealing processors gets denser, traditional systems will be much less effective.

In the interim, the quantum team is building up its datasets and note that it is easy to make premature conclusions on such small sets. With more than 400,000 problem instances now on hand, they are trying to identify a class of problems for which the current quantum hardware might outperform all known classical solvers.




User Comments: 11

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1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

With more than 400,000 problem instances now on hand, they are trying to identify a class of problems for which the current quantum hardware might outperform all known classical solvers.

aka. find a benchmark this computer is good at.

mosu said:

I wonder what kinda problems we're talking about?

Khanonate said:

I wonder if it will be good for gaming...

Guest said:

Most likely cracking encrypted messages, this is being sponsored by the NSA after all.

Seventh Reign Seventh Reign said:

Most likely cracking encrypted messages, this is being sponsored by the NSA after all.

NASA (Space) Not NSA (Spying). Learn to read.

Guest said:

Isn't NASA sponsored by NSA?

Armanian said:

Most likely cracking encrypted messages, this is being sponsored by the NSA after all.

NASA (Space) Not NSA (Spying). Learn to read.

If you search NSA and Quantum Computing, they have been researching it and developing it themselves. So to draw a link between NSA and D-Wave is still releavant.

MadnessRed said:

I thought the idea behind quantum computers was not that they were faster per say but that quantum algorithms could sometimes have a faster time complexity - eg something that is solvable in exponential time classically could also be in quantum-polynomial time?

1 person liked this | Hasbean said:

But the all important question, what frame rates will it get on Crysis?

Guest said:

Very interesting article, but I think there should be a brief explanation of the problems that the random instances are of, and the solvers (as I didn't get what these are, and I'm not sure that general purpose computing problems is the answer)

Guest said:

A quantum computer works with switches that not only exist in ON or OFF states but also in states that are simultaneously 'ON and OFF'. The assumption that a quantum switch can be 'ON and OFF' at the same time is based on an INCORRECT concept of Linear Polarization. http://vixra.org/pdf/1303.0174v4.pdf

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