Shocking if True: D-Wave Demos 16-Qubit Quantum Computer

Showing how clueless aggregator sites are, no one seems to be properly freaking out about the claims of D-Wave to be demoing a 16-qubit quantum computer with plans for a 1K-qubit computer within a year. CNet story here, straight link to company here.

The shocking thing about this is that a quantum computer's information processing ability goes up exponentially as its qubits increase. I believe that Shor's algorithm factors at O(n) (goodbye standard cryptography) and Grover's algorithm sorts at O(n\^2). The theoretical power is even more mind-blowing: small numbers of qubits can model incredibly complex things (I'm not going to post the thing I'm thinking of without finding a source).

What triggers a certain skepticism is that the few-qubit computers that have been developed didn't look like they were going to scale and everyone expected it to be quite a slog to find a scalable architecture. D-Wave's claims imply a huge breakthrough; of course, given the epochal nature of such a breakthrough, very smart people have been looking for just such a thing.

I'm utterly stunned. I use to play with simulating quantum computations and tried in vain to develop algorithmic design methods that were comprehensible, but I did not expect a significant quantum computer until the 2020s.