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Quantum computers leap into the real world

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Posted March 18, 2013

FEW things are more frustrating than waiting for a revolutionary technology to arrive. None more so, perhaps, than quantum computers, which promise to solve problems impervious to conventional methods. Their development has inched a long one qubit at a time. For onlookers, it has seemed like a long and very slow crawl.

Yet suddenly, it seems they may be up and running. A Canadian company, D-Wave, says tests have shown that its novel computer operates via the spooky process of entanglement, and is thus a quantum computer. If confirmed, it’s a critical milestone for a commercial machine, and while it may not yet be as flexible as rival approaches, it will still pack a formidable punch (see “Controversial quantum computer aces entanglement tests“).

Intriguingly, potential users haven’t waited for confirmation of the tests. D-Wave made its first sale, to Lockheed Martin, in 2011. Time will tell whether the aerospace company has made a wise investment but it’s clear that demand is there. So are influential investors, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the CIA. The interest may finally help propel the research out of the lab once and for all.

Read more at: NewScientist.com

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