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August 17, 2012

Being Right on Dwave and having correct coverage on Quantum Computers

I usually do not repeat and resummarize the key parts of 80 articles related to Dwave Systems for each new article.

I covered that Dwave got more funding to cover the next two years, so they should reach profitably and be able to reach an IPO in a few years.

I had an interview with DWave CTO Geordie Rose in Dec, 2011

The amount of speedup depends upon the different quantum algorithms that are being run.

If the (cancer radiation) treatment optimization problem were indicative of the speedup of different algorithms, then one might expect (I am extrapolating the 512/128 qubit example)

512 qubits 1000 times faster than 128 qubits
2048 qubits 1000 times faster than 512 qubits




Dwave sold a system to Lockheed for $10 million back in late 2010

I made a public bet in 2006 that Dwave would get to over 100 qubits for a commercial system.

“There will be a quantum computer with over 100 qubits of processing capability sold either as a hardware system or whose use is made available as a commercial service by Dec 31, 2010”

In Jan 2010, IEEE Spectrum picked Dwave systems as a loser.

In July 2011, IEEE Spectrum recants and admits they were wrong

IEEE spectrum could not predict as well as I did when I made a prediction in 2006 when they were predicting nearly 4 years later.

Some on Reddit think that a Nature blog is a more legitimate and intelligible source.

Did Nature blog make any accurate predictions ? Did Nature blog cover the speedup issue ?

I have written over 80 articles on Dwave and adiabatic quantum computers.

Adiabatic computers do outperform all classical computers for some problems.

Scott Aaronson

Scott Aaronson (theoretical quantum computing professor) who blogs at Shetyl Optimized.

Scott talked about the evidence of Dwave quantumness in Nature in 2011


I [Scott Aaronson] don’t have any regrets about pouring cold water on D-Wave’s previous announcements, because as far as I can tell, I was right! For years, D-Wave trumpeted “quantum computing demonstrations” that didn’t demonstrate anything of the kind; tried the research community’s patience with hype and irrelevant side claims; and persistently dodged the central question of how it knew it was doing quantum computing rather than classical simulated annealing.

I [Scott Aaronson] hereby announce my retirement as Chief D-Wave Skeptic, a job that I never wanted in the first place. New applicants for this rewarding position are urged to apply in the comments section; background in experimental physics a must.

I hereby retire my notorious comment from 2007, about the 16-bit machine that D-Wave used for its Sudoku demonstration being no more computationally-useful than a roast-beef sandwich. D-Wave does have something today that’s more computationally-useful than a roast-beef sandwich; the question is “merely” whether it’s ever more useful than your laptop. Geordie presented graphs that showed D-Wave’s quantum annealer solving its Ising spin problem “faster” than classical simulated annealing and tabu search (where “faster” means ignoring the time for cooling the annealer down, which seemed fair to me). Unfortunately, the data didn’t go up to large input sizes, while the data that did go up to large input sizes only compared against complete classical algorithms rather than heuristic ones.

In summary, while the observed speedup is certainly interesting, it remains unclear exactly what to make of it, and especially, whether or not quantum coherence is playing a role.

So Scott ended up being wrong, but slowly and partially backed away from his claims. But now he claims that he made the claims because Dwave did not spend time publishing proof experiments instead of building a business.

I [Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture] was right all along and covered it in detail and described the algorithms and the applications as they developed. But some Reddit readers ahead look to Scott Aaronson who was wrong and look to IEEE Spectrum who were wrong or a Nature blog (which has less coverage and fewer answers).

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