Quantum Computing - A Reality?

Hats off to Canada! It seems that D-Wave has produced the first commercial quantum processor, or at least they've presented enough evidence that NASA, Google, and Lockheed Martin have purchased, or are in the process of purchasing, one of their processors.

When D-Wave first started out, there was, and continues to be, a great deal of skepticism regarding its claims of creating a quantum processor. Most research labs have only succeeded in building general-purpose quantum computers that use a few qubits (quantum bits). D-Wave claims to use hundreds of qubits in their processor.

D-Wave seems to have overcome the limitations seen in research labs by creating a processor that solves a specific type of problem - optimization problems - though it is comparable to a high-end classical processor for general problem solving. A recent study in Nature Communications supports D-Wave's claims about creating the first commercial quantum processor. At minimum, the study lends credence to D-Wave's claims  by acknowledging that "quantum effects play a functional role" in the processor.

Regardless of its status as quantum processor, it has performed up to 10,000 times faster on some optimization problems during testing. If you are involved in machine learning or identifying exoplanets from satellite images, there might be a D-Wave computer in your future. Unfortunately, the high price tag means you have to have extraordinarily deep pockets to purchase one. Heck, you might even need to have deep pockets to look at one, considering the reported $10 million asking price.

So the general IT field probably won't have to worry about monitoring quantum devices for decades, but with this viable quantum entry into the field, we're going to have to start thinking about how to apply IT management principles to quantum computing, especially in regards to monitoring quantum equipment and new security protocols. And really, after quantum computing, we're going to have to worry about quantum networking to move this new wealth of information around more efficiently.