recommended reading

Quantum Speed Not So Fast After All

A 3D rendered simulation of a quantum processor computer.

A 3D rendered simulation of a quantum processor computer. // welcomia/

Theoretically, quantum computing has near-limitless potential to compute information through exploiting the fundamental laws of physics.

Despite perceived advancements in the new field, including the development of the first commercial quantum computer by a Canadian company called D-Wave Systems, the current reality is that quantum computing is no faster than the computing going on in the guts of average Macs or PCs.

That’s the argument made in new research released June 19, in which researchers pitted a D-Wave Two against traditional computers running fairly matched optimization algorithms.

First reported by Wired, the researchers found “no evidence of quantum speedup when the entire data set is considered,” and “inconclusive results” occurred in other data subsets. The researchers did not rule out the possibility of a quantum speedup -- the mark up in speed that quantum mechanics theoretically allows for -- for other kinds of problems outside the optimization arena.

The team found instances where the D-Wave Two solved problems up to five times faster than normal computers. However, in some problems they computed results up to 100 times slower than their traditional counterparts. D-Wave Systems disputed the results, suggesting researchers need to pick more challenging problems.

The results are likely to add fuel to the debate over whether today’s quantum computers actually make use of quantum phenomena, or whether they can do things a classical computer couldn’t do. NASA and Google, who co-operate the world’s largest nonclassified quantum computer, have yet to publish results of research they’ve been doing. If those results show advantages in quantum computing, it could prompt interest from businesses with inherently difficult optimization problems

(Image via welcomia/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.