Google and NASA engineers announced that tests with the D-WAVE 2X, the quantum computer developed by them, showed that it’s 100 million times faster than an ordinary computer. The impressive record was achieved in a test in which the D-WAVE 2X ran an optimization problem and found a solution much faster than a conventional computer, using a single-core processor.
A graph showing the relative performance of the D-Wave and some simulated quantum computing algorithms. At the high end (far right) the difference is on the order of 108.
Quantum computers are one of the greatest dreamed technological achievements and are gradually becoming a reality. The reason for such a great expectation behind this is the potential processing capacity of such equipment in contrast to conventional systems.
As the name says, a quantum computer uses principles of quantum mechanics to work. While normal computers calculate and process information from bits, composed of binary values 1 and 0, the quantum machines use qubits, which can assume the values 0 and 1 simultaneously. This may seem like a small detail but it makes a quantum computer much more agile in heavy processing.
To give you an idea of its processing capacity, what the D-WAVE 2X takes one second to process, a common PC would take 10,000 years. In addition to the natural interest of Google in this technology to accelerate the myriad of services offered via the Internet, NASA plans to apply this technology in demanding tasks such as orbital calculations, air traffic control and mapping of climate change and the dynamic behavior Earth’s atmosphere.