D-Wave’s Quantum Tech Set to Disrupt Computing

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Mar 18th, 2013 | By | Category: Featured, Investing Strategies, Technology

For decades, digital computing has been on an exponential trend first described in Moore’s law. We’ve been able to pack more electronic components in a given space than ever before, and the trend will continue for many years.

New technologies are emerging, however, that could eventually supersede the current computing paradigm we’ve become accustomed to. You’ve probably heard about quantum computing before. In this newsletter, we’ve covered D-Wave, which itself forms part of our revolutionary technology portfolio.

D-Wave’s quantum computing claims have met with skepticism. Naysayers have claimed the company’s computers, are not, in fact, true quantum computers. Maybe D-Wave is too far ahead of their time. Lockheed Martin owns a unit, the first commercially sold. Google has been experimenting with D-Wave technology for image recognition. The company’s response has been to continue to produce more powerful designs, which have now been used to solve computational problems not accessible to conventional computers.

One example is a paper published last year by Harvard researchers in Nature’s open access journal Scientific Reports. Researchers used a D-Wave computer to solve a complex problem involving the shape of protein molecules.

According to professor Alan Aspuru-Guzik from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University:

“ The D-Wave computer found the ground-state conformation of six-amino acid lattice protein models. This is the first time a quantum device has been used to tackle optimization problems related to the natural sciences.”

The lead author of the paper, Dr. Alejandro Perdomo-Ortiz, added:

“ Knowing that we can use real quantum computers to solve hard problems in biology is an exciting and important result. The techniques developed in this report can also be used to tackle other biophysical problems, such as molecular recognition, protein design and sequence alignment.”

In December of last year, however, D-Wave’s technology enjoyed an additional positive independent scrutiny. The University of Southern California’s Operational Quantum Computing Center houses one of D-Wave’s models, called the DW1. They have been putting the device through its paces and validate that it is, in fact, a programmable superconducting quantum adiabatic processor. Not only are they evaluating the computer’s quantumness, but also benchmarking its performance and working on finding real-world applications for its power.

In a discussion at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, USC researchers Drs. Robert Lucas and Federico Spedalieri showed how they investigated the quantum nature of DW1 by running a test that would yield a different result in a quantum com¬puter as opposed to a classical one. Called a combinatorial optimization problem, it involved finding an optimal solution from a set of possible solutions.

Examples of combinatorial optimization problems include the “vehicle routing problem,” where a solution to finding opti¬mal routes to service customers with a vehicle fleet is sought. Another is the “traveling salesman” problem, the solving of which requires determining the shortest possible route that visits each location on a list once and returns to the original location. In addition to these logistics applications, other applications extend into the fields of social networking, natural language processing and robotics.

Not only did DW1 solve the problems, but the results were also statistically consistent with what would be expected from a quantum system, rather than a classical one. Furthermore, they found the DW1 to be surprisingly robust against the interac¬tion of the quantum elements with the environment, known as noise. Benchmark testing of the system also showed promising scaling characteristics when compared with classical systems. The team plans on conducting additional tests.

Yours for transformational profits,

Patrick Cox & Ray Blanco

Author Image for Patrick Cox

Patrick Cox

Patrick Cox has lived deep inside the world of transformative technologies for over 25 years. In the 1980s, he worked in computer software development and manufacturing. By the mid-1990s, he worked as a consultant for Netscape — the company that handled 90% of all Internet browsing traffic at the time. InfoWorld and USA Today have featured Patrick's research numerous times. He's also appeared on Crossfire and Nightline. Patrick has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal and Reason magazine. His expertise brought him to Agora Financial, where he now heads Breakthrough Technology Alert, the only place you'll find the truly transformational technologies that offer exponential gains.

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