While the naysaying surrounding D-Wave's alleged quantum computer is all but certain to persist, the University of Southern California has released its latest findings that point to the likelihood of the machine truly being the real thing.
Specifically, USC says that its researchers have determined the D-Wave system definitely does not use a computing model grounded in the world of classical physics, known as "simulated annealing." While the USC scientists stop short of saying that D-Wave's machine uses "quantum annealing," they have stated that there is "strong agreement" between the way the computer operates and the way a quantum computer would be expected to behave.
"D-Wave has made significant strides in the technology, application and now commercialization of quantum computing," said Steve Conway, IDC research vice president for high performance computing.
D-Wave has long maintained that its system is a bona fide quantum computer. When it announced the acquisition of the machine by Google and NASA, D-Wave billed it as a 512-qubit quantum computer. While the organizations that are in possession of the machine, including USC, continue to run tests and measure benchmarks, Google, for its part, has always backed D-Wave's claim and says that it's using the system to work on problems pertaining to machine learning - a crucial element in the development of a true artificial intelligence.
"The order for a D-Wave Two system for the initiative launched by NASA, Google and USRA attests to the revolutionary potential of this fundamentally different approach to computing for both industry and government. HPC buyers and users are looking for ways to speed up their applications beyond what contemporary technologies can deliver. IDC believes organizations that depend on leading-edge technology would do well to begin exploring the possibilities for quantum computing."
It is worth noting that the D-Wave system isn't what's known as a "universal quantum computer," which is a theoretical machine that can handle any computational task thrown its way. The D-Wave system is designed specifically to solve combinatorial optimization problems.