There’s a fine article in the Old Gray Lady about the potential charade known as D-Wave Systems’ Orion, a so-called quantum computer that was first demonstrated in February. D-Wave Systems bills the computer as the world’s first “practical” quantum computer, something many scientists have a problem with. To these scientists, many of whom have devoted their life’s work to help develop quantum computers—computers so powerful there’s no point in comparing them to today’s computers—a quantum computer is inherently impractical. They’re too powerful to ever be made “practical.”
Hence the controversy. Did D-Wave Systems develop the world’s first quantum computer, or have they tricked us all? In the meantime, the company will rent out Orion as a Web server to companies that demand only the best in Web hosting. Hmm… really good Web server, or miracle computer? Those would appear to be two different things. But I’m a layman, not a botanist.
A Giant Leap Forward in Computing? Maybe Not [New York Times]