By Evan Ackerman
Okay, so apparently I was a little overexcited about the debut of the quantum computer on Tuesday. Let me briefly reiterate how cool the idea of a quantum computer is (in principle): the use of quantum bits (qbits) allow a quantum computer to exist in many different states at once, putting conventional computers to shame. Hence the “wow” factor.
The actual live demo of this technology on Tuesday by D-Wave Systems was pretty much a total buzzkill. Not only was the demo performed remotely (on video), but even the D-Wave people aren’t entirely sure if the calculations that the machine does actually qualify as true quantum computing. The company is now emphasizing that when they say “quantum computer,” what they’re talking about is a normal computer that (may?) use quantum mechanics to solve a special type of math problem. According to their CEO, “a general purpose quantum computer is a waste of time.” Ouch.
Edit- Click here to read an interview with David Deutch, the “father” of quantum computing, where he explains how a quantum computer is proof of parallel universes (!).