Los Alamos National Laboratory is buying a 5,000-qubit quantum computer from D-Wave

William Gayde

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LANL was originally created during the Second World War as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear weapon. Currently, they conduct research in many scientific fields including renewable energy, medicine, and national security. These areas require vast amounts of computing resources to solve their types of problems.

This will be the third generation of quantum commuters that D-Wave has provided LANL. The previous iteration was a 2,000-qubit system for which LANL had developed over 60 applications. Irene Qualters, LANL associate director for simulation and computing, believes the new 5,000Q system will enable "new research into developing quantum algorithms and new tools." She views quantum computing as a critical area of research for Los Alamos.

This new system, called "Advantage", features more than twice the qubits and a new interconnect technology. This allows for higher performance and lower noise from the qubits.

Quantum computers present a different paradigm for computing. It's not something you can install Windows on and play Crysis at 5 million FPS. Rather, they allow researchers to develop new algorithms and techniques that aren't possible on current systems. The holy grail is to be able to break modern encryption, something infeasible on even the most powerful traditional systems.

If you've been following the latest industry news on quantum computers, the 5,000-qubit number should look a bit strange to you. IBM recently launched a system with 53-qubits and Google is developing a 72-qubit quantum computer. Although D-Wave's system has about 100x the number of qubits, it doesn't mean their system is 100x faster. They are using a technique called Quantum Annealing which is fundamentally different from the universal gate quantum computers of IBM and Google. They are designed to solve different types of problems, so any comparison between them is meaningless.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
DOE rarely does anything in a small way, which is why, when they fail they fail BIG. Of course, when the succeed the success can be astronomical and overshadow failures a hundred times more or larger. Unfortunately the best news is that which is the most negative and these days anything that isn't complimentary to the institution, leader or other highly invested entity is branded as "fake".
A great friend of mine that is in the business of news once told me that "if we only reported the actual news with no opinions or spin the daily output would be only about 15-20 minutes and you just can't make any advertising revenue on such a short time" ...... I'm still trying to get my arms around that one!
 

VitalyT

Russ-Puss
They are getting it for national security, under the updated doctrine that was used to justify the nuclear race with the Soviets. Newer tech, same old premise of a preemptive strike.

I suspect there won't be any medical or renewable energy research in that.
 
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yRaz

Nigerian Prince
They are getting it for national security, under the updated doctrine that was used to justify the nuclear race with the Soviets. Newer tech, same old premise of a preemptive strike.

I think there won't be any medical or renewable energy research in that.
Energy independence is a large part of national security, I'd hazard a guess this might actually be used for that but not for, uhh, positive reasons
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
DOE rarely does anything in a small way, which is why, when they fail they fail BIG. Of course, when the succeed the success can be astronomical and overshadow failures a hundred times more or larger. Unfortunately the best news is that which is the most negative and these days anything that isn't complimentary to the institution, leader or other highly invested entity is branded as "fake".
A great friend of mine that is in the business of news once told me that "if we only reported the actual news with no opinions or spin the daily output would be only about 15-20 minutes and you just can't make any advertising revenue on such a short time" ...... I'm still trying to get my arms around that one!
Off topic: but the HBO show "The Newsroom" was right. We should have stipulated when we opened up the airwaves to the original broadcasters that in exchange for their licenses to use public resources (the airwaves), they work for the American people for 1hr a night and report the news without commercials.

For a while, everything was acceptable, but as soon as CNN launched "24hr news", things have been going downhill. The first gets to report the facts, then broadcasts their opinion. Then the others re-report the facts, and in an effort to peel viewers away from the original source, spew wilder/more popular opinions - and then continue this cycle down to the CNN/Fox extremes we have today.
 

netman

TS Evangelist
They are getting it for national security, under the updated doctrine that was used to justify the nuclear race with the Soviets. Newer tech, same old premise of a preemptive strike.

I suspect there won't be any medical or renewable energy research in that.
Right on spot. They can now make the design of a new nuclear bomb a lot faster...
 
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Markoni35

TS Addict
Does anyone believe that "Department of Energy" is the real user of those quantum and classic supercomputers? I mean... really? Are there still that many naive people out there?

Come on, we all know who is really using those supercomputers and for which purpose. Here's a hint for which purpose are D-Wave computers used:
https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.08706
 
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Check the news post: "...they conduct research in many scientific fields including renewable energy, medicine, and national security". Markoni35's suggestion isn't as outlandish as one may think.
If you discuss this any further, they'll just delete your comments. Like they just did all of mine on the topic, site-wide. And hopefully you get this in an email before they delete this too.
 

neeyik

TS Guru
Staff member
I wouldn’t suggest that it cryptography is their sole work. However a quantum computer such as this type is very much ideal for this kind of work, tinfoilhat not withstanding.
 

neeyik

TS Guru
Staff member
Absolutely! Although the results they produce are essentially probability density functions rather than discrete values, there are lots of applications that can still benefit from the accelerated, massively parallel calculations offered by quantum computers.
 
Sure, they do cryptography work, but not exclusively. It's not the majority of their work either. Only Tinhat thinking would suggest that it is.
I disagree. Only a Statist apologist or intelligence asset would believe otherwise, that every tool for domestic espionage that exists is not in play and heavily used, constantly. The NRO alone has more staff and a bigger budget than all the other alphabet-agencies combined, and I'd bet money that you don't even know what it is. Or that it was kept absolutely secret for over thirty years.

Go ahead, Google it.
 

Markoni35

TS Addict
We all know that main purpose of quantum computers is breaking cryptography. And if you buy the biggest, most expensive quantum computer, you won't be using it for "curing cancer" or similar noble causes. You'll just say that to media, so that sheep feel better about the enormous expenses.
 
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