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Is quantum computing real?

Julie Sartain | Sept. 25, 2011
Significant roadblocks are causing some to question whether quantum computing will ever make it out of the lab.

"I'd put quantum computing, even if it proves competitive and valid, 20 years out because of the very complex infrastructure that has to go with it," says Michael Peterson, analyst and CEO at Strategic Research Corporation. "Developing a new technology like this requires 'breaking the laws of physics' more than once.' However, we did it with disk technology many times over during the past 25 years, and we'll do it many times more."

Mordoff adds that there are other commercial companies evaluating quantum computers, but no one is actually 'using' them, thus far, except Lockheed and D-Wave, of course. "Whether we want this or not, we have to eventually venture into a quantum domain," Ekert says.

"Some researchers believe that general purpose quantum computers will never be developed. Instead, they will be dedicated to a narrow class of use such as the optimization engine of D-Wave Systems. This suggests architectures where traditional computers offload specific calculations to dedicated quantum acceleration engines. It's still likely to be around 10 years before the acceleration engine approach is ready for general adoption by the classes of user that can make use of them; however, they will likely be attractive offerings for cloud service providers, adds Tully."



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