Canadian firm demonstrates quantum computer

The world’s first commercially viable quantum computer has been demonstrated in Silicon Valley by D-Wave Systems, Inc., a privately-held Canadian firm headquartered near Vancouver.The world’s first commercially viable quantum computer has been demonstrated in Silicon Valley by D-Wave Systems, Inc., a privately-held Canadian firm headquartered near Vancouver.

Quantum computing offers the potential to create value in areas where problems or requirements exceed the capability of digital computing, the company said. But D-Wave explains that its new device is intended as a complement to conventional computers, to augment existing machines and their market, not as a replacement for them.

Company officials formally announced the technology at the Computer History Museum, in the heart of Silicon Valley, in a demonstration intended to show how the machine can run commercial applications and is better suited to the types of problems that have stymied conventional (digital) computers.

Herb Martin, CEO of D-Wave, said this breakthrough in quantum technology represents a substantial step forward in solving commercial and scientific problems which, until now, were considered intractable. Digital technology stands to reap the benefits of enhanced performance and broader application.

Quantum-computer technology can solve what is known as “NP-complete” problems. These are the problems where the sheer volume of complex data and variables prevent digital computers from achieving results in a reasonable amount of time.

Such problems are associated with life sciences, biometrics, logistics, parametric database search and quantitative finance, among many other commercial and scientific areas, the company said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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