quantum-computing - Image Credit: physicsworld.com
Image credit: physicsworld.com

Quantum computing uses atomic level particles to do the heavy lifting, where speed and power could be significantly greater, superior to any current ‘super computer.’  So the desire to design a full sized quantum computer has kept scientist, engineers, and physicists occupied with the potential.

And there’s progress to report.

From Science World Report

The so-called boson sampling computer utilizes photons, a particular type of bosons. These particles have high mobility, which makes them extremely valuable in a quantum computer. In order to create the boson sampling computer, the researchers inserted photons into a complex optical network where they could propagate along many different paths.

“According to the laws of quantum physics, the photons seem to take all possible paths at the same time. This is known as superposition,” said Philip Walther from the Faculty of Physics in a news release.“Amazingly, one can record the outcome of the computation rather trivially: one measures how many photons exit in which output of the network.”

Existing technology is already sparking interest… (Forbes.com)

D-Wave, the Canadian-based company that is the first to offer a commercial quantum computer, announced today that it’s sold its second $10 million D-Wave Two system. The buyers are a three-way collaboration between Google , NASA, and the Universities Space Research Association.

Prior to selecting the contract with D-Wave, the partnership first conducted a series of benchmarks on the 512-qubit D-Wave Two system, and found that its specifications were met or exceeded. The computer will be upgraded to a 2,048 qubit system once D-Wave has perfected that chip.

It’s important to note that the D-Wave system is not a general computer like your PC. Rather, it’s optimized to solve a particular type of problem, and it likely uses quantum effects to solve those problems.

Price is clearly a “barrier” but this is always true for new technology.  If deep-pocketed players can work out the bugs for the rest of us, and rightly reap the rewards for their risk, then the future of computing may well be at the atomic level.

But where do we go from there?