Meet the DW2 machine 3,600 times faster than supercomputers

Using techniques of quantum computation, the device is able to surpass its predecessors in power and speed while consuming significantly less energy and floor space

Quantum computing has been exalted as the future of data processing with the ability to perform calculations thousands of times faster than current while consuming much less power supercomputers. Over the past two years, the only device using this concept that was already commercially available, the D-Wave One (DW1), doubled its already amazing capabilities. And now it has a successor that lets you to shame.

With hardware that makes it 300,000 times more powerful than its predecessor, the D-Wave Two (DW2) reached 100 solutions in half a second for a comparative test, producing 3,600 times faster results than the most advanced workstations running CPLEX optimization algorithms top of the line. The other half hour machines required to achieve the same results.

Quantum computing differs from the classical model in its most fundamental level . While traditional computers depend on the states of bits of alternating 1 and 0 to store data , quantum allow their " qubits " exist as 1 , 0 or both simultaneously - which is called superposition .

Thus, while a traditional PC sequentially explores potential solutions to a problem of mathematical optimization , the quantum system observes all potential solutions simultaneously and provides not only the " best " answer, but also alternative approximate 10,000 in less than a second, a process known as " quantum annealing " .

Furthermore , the model works differently from traditional computers that use logic gates to manipulate the bits shape . The D -Wave system uses an adiabatic gate, which can read the state of the qubits less energy to find a solution .
When the original DW1 was launched in May 2011, he had a chip -set of 128 qubits - which is already many magnitudes faster than the existing technology of supercomputers - and was promptly bought by research labs and defense companies contracted by the U.S. government. However , the new DW2 leave it all behind , an arrangement with anything less than 512 qubits .

Each qubit is a small processor that operates superconducting quantum mechanical effects - which in turn are amplified as more qubits are linked together . If all the 509 functional qubits DW2 were connected to each other , the system would have powers processing 100 orders of magnitude more than its predecessor.

However, as each qubit computer communicates directly only with seven other , forming eight nodes that bind each other, reaching a DW2 ends "only" 300 000 times greater than DW1 performance. Nothing to play out, considering the enormous power that the first version already has .

Such force does not come without some requirements , however , and DW2 need very specific conditions to work - not to mention extreme . The device operates at a temperature of only 0.02 Kelvin , which is something 150 times colder than the depths of interstellar space and is frighteningly close to " absolute zero " . All this in a vacuum 10 billion times lower than standard atmospheric pressure .

The device suffers 50 000 times less magnetic interference thanks to heavy shields placed on it. Surprisingly , all these values ​​are achieved with consumption of 15.5 kW and device occupies an area of ​​only ten square meters - which is almost nothing compared to thousands of kilowatts and whole warehouses seized by traditional supercomputers .

Enterprises and institutions of weight such as Google , NASA and the Association of the Universities Space Research U.S. , acquired their DW2 in May last year, which helps explain why the search giant has been buying development of AI companies and robotics. The D - Wave Systems does not report prices of the device , but the BBC estimated a cost of approximately $ 15 million (equivalent to approximately U.S. $ 34.7 million ) .