Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Tapping Quantum Effects for Software that Learns - Technology Review: D-Wave's machine is intended to do one thing better than a conventional computer: finding approximate answers to problems that can only be truly solved by exhaustively trying every possible solution. D-Wave runs a single algorithm, dubbed quantum annealing, which is hard-wired into the machine's physical design, says Geordie Rose, D-Wave's founder and CTO. Data sent to the chip is translated into qubit values and settings for the couplers that connect them. After that, the interlinked qubits go through a series of quantum mechanical changes that result in the solution emerging. "You stuff the problem into the hardware and it acts as a physical proxy for what you're trying to solve," says Rose. "All physical systems want to sink to the lowest energy level, with the most entropy," he explains, "and ours sinks to a state that represents the solution."