D-Wave quantum computer passes tests ahead of Google deployment
Quantum chip designer D-Wave has seen one of its computers validated as a quantum computer by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC).
D-Wave has faced skepticism for years about its claims to have produced an adiabatic quantum computer. Now Lockheed Martin and USC claim to have proven that the Reiner chip used in the D-Wave computer implements quantum effects.
Researchers at USC performed tests on a subset of the 128-qubit chip that USC claims found that the chip performed "largely as hoped". The university said its findings show "potential for quantum optimisation on a larger than ever scale".
Daniel Lidar, scientific director of the USC Quantum Computing Centre said, "Using a specific test problem involving eight qubits, we have verified that the D-Wave processor performs optimization calculations [that is, finds lowest-energy solutions] using a procedure that is consistent with quantum annealing and is inconsistent with the predictions of classical annealing."
Earlier this year Google and NASA bought a 512-qubit D-Wave quantum computer. While D-Wave’s detractors still remain, the fact that the company has managed to win business from organisations such as Lockheed Martin, Google and NASA strongly suggests that while it might not be a general quantum computer, it has the potential of producing significant speed improvements for solving certain computing problems.
The USC researchers said that they intend to test D-Wave’s next generation 512-qubit Vesuvius chip.