Friday, September 26, 2014

Quantum Computing: "Three Questions with the CEO of D-Wave"

I'm still not sure if D-Wave has a quantum computer or not, some links to previous posts below.
Also, the interviewer does not ask what the advantages of this approach are for fanciers of cat videos.

Regarding the quantum, this is not Schrödinger's Cat
From MIT's Technology Review:
The CEO of quantum computing startup D-Wave says its machines are helping companies analyze Wall Street data and search for new cancer drugs.

Ever since D-Wave Systems unveiled what it called the world’s first quantum computer in 2007, the small Canadian company has attracted controversy.

Computers capable of exploiting quantum physics for computation on a large scale promise to solve in mere seconds problems that would take conventional machines millions of years. But whether D-Wave’s machine uses quantum tricks to process data more efficiently is still an open question. Nonetheless, the company has attracted significant investment funding, and it has struck deals to supply its hardware to companies including Google and Lockheed Martin for research (see “The CIA and Jeff Bezos Bet on Quantum Computing”).
D-Wave’s CEO, Vern Brownell, met recently with Tom Simonite, MIT Technology Review’s San Francisco bureau chief, and said the company now has customers using its computers to tackle real problems.

By now you have built a few generations of your quantum processors. Are they ready to be used to solve problems yet?
We have 12 machines running now. A few of them are online; we have customers who can access a machine over the Internet. It’s not a product or something that’s available to everyone, but we have customers doing real things with the computer today that have huge business impact. We have seen results that are better than classical systems. Customers have their application and integrate quantum computing into it and it performs better.

Over the next few years we will be offering more and more of that capability to the world. We see us eventually making quantum cloud services available to the world. But we don’t have a tool set yet that allows us to do that. It requires a lot of hand-holding with even the most sophisticated customers.

Can you give some examples of what those customers are using D-Wave’s machines for?
[A company called] 1Qbit was started to use our quantum computer for financial services. They have 20 PhDs developing algorithms in portfolio optimization and things like that. We provide them with some training and expertise, but they are by and large doing this work themselves. If they find the amazing algorithm that is going to make tons of money for Wall Street traders, it’s their intellectual property, not ours....MORE
HT: FT Alphaville's Further Reading post.

Sept. 2014
"The Man Who Will Build Google’s Elusive Quantum Computer" (GOOG)
April 2014
"Why Nobody Can Tell Whether the World’s Biggest Quantum Computer is a Quantum Computer"
May 2013
Google Launches the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab (GOOG)
March 2013
Does Lockheed Have a Quantum Computer or Doesn't It? (LK)
Nov. 2012
Quantum Computing: CIA and Bezos Invest in D-Wave Systems In.