Quantum computing specialist D-Wave systems announced on Thursday its latest quantum computer, which it's calling the D-Wave 2X system.

According to D-Wave, it will support 1000 quantum bits, or qubits, which should enable the system to run more complex problems than its predecessors. This is partially due to the fact that the system runs at 15 millikelvin, which is very close to absolute zero and significantly colder than space.

Because there are so few companies working on quantum computers, D-Wave needed to create its own benchmark to test its new system. Here's how it performed:

  • The D-Wave 2X finds near-optimal solutions between 2x and 600x faster (depending on inputs) than comparable times for the best known and highly tuned, classical solvers. This comparison uses the quantum anneal time of the D-Wave processor.

  • The D-Wave 2X finds near-optimal solutions up to 15x faster than the solvers using total time measurements.

  • The greatest performance advantage for the D-Wave 2X compared to the software solvers is seen on inputs with more challenging structures than simple random cases that have been the predominant focus in previous benchmarks. This means the hardware performance is showing its best performance against software solvers on hard problem instances.

  • In cases where it could be calculated, the difference between “near-optimal” and “optimal” is quite small, less than one percent of the latter. The D-Wave 2X is up to 100x faster at finding good near-optimal solutions than optimal solutions.

D-Wave Systems raised $29 million back in January, although it didn't specify a lead investor. Still -- D-Wave is a legitmate quantum computing company. Previous investors include Goldman Sachs and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, though.

Many argue that D-Wave doesn't represent a true "general" quantum computing system and instead is a simulator of a quantum computer, although the system does show evidence of entanglement, a key property of quantum computers. The D-Wave computer can't be used for general computing, but it is excellent at solving optimization problems.

Previous D-Wave systems have been purchased by industrial powerhouses like Lockheed Martin and NASA as well as computer giants like Google.

Got an extra $15 million lying around as well as a team of quantum computing specialists? The D-Wave 2X is available for shipping and installation now.



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