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Quantum Computing part IV: …Man, I HATE it when I’m right!

Following on from my last post on D-wave and Quantum computing, it turns out that announcement from Google was all about the one-hundred-million-times performance boost their new D-Wave computer has shown over a standard computer (with a single core).

To put that in perspective, first you need to imagine an optimization problem that takes a standard 4-core desktop CPU 10,000 years of constant running to solve! (… a bit like ‘Deep Thought’ in the Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy books).

Then, you need to imagine this 10,000 year problem…. being solved in less than 1 second, … by one single processor, in one single computer (…eat our dust Intel!)

Social media has since gone absolutely bonkers over the subject, and it’s currently trending on Facebook like no-one’s business.

For those who came in late, here are a just few links to peruse:

 

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/12/google-nasa-our-quantum-computer-is-100-million-times-faster-than-normal-pc/

http://www.nas.nasa.gov/quantum/

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/625828/Google-Quantum-Computer-NASA-D-Wave

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/544276/google-says-it-has-proved-its-controversial-quantum-computer-really-works/

And in case you missed my previously linked introductory videos, here’s another one for you.

 

 

…So what does all that mean for the rest of us, now that D-wave have been vindicated, and have indeed invented the world’s first quantum computing mainframe.

Frankly I have almost no idea what comes next – and neither does anyone else. To be honest, it’s a bit like a caveman asking “so what use is this stupid “wheel” thingy REALLY going to be for me?”

We simply can’t conceive of what the limits of this new technology might be, …because we have no equivalent in our history to compare it to!

The one thing I can tell you is that from this moment forward, there is very little existing encryption technology on this planet (that I currently know of) that can be thought of as truly secure over the medium term.

As I’ve said ad-nauseum for years now, one of the best things that quantum computers (in their current format) will be able to do is deconstruct cryptography. Not even the 2048-bit encryption in use at banks and data centres around the world will be safe for very long, given that these suckers can potentially crack such codes in less than a heartbeat.

The future has arrived people. In case you were wondering – this is what the start of a technological revolution looks like.

Whatever happens from here on in, technology and its application is slowly (or not-so-slowly) going to become unrecognizable; life is going to start changing in nigh-unprecedented ways.