The Orion system is a hardware accelerator designed to solve a particular NP-complete problem called the two dimensional Ising model in a magnetic field. It is built around a 16-qubit superconducting adiabatic quantum computer processor. The system is designed to be used in concert with a conventional front end for any application that requires the solution of an NP-complete problem.Of course, the skepticism level is still high:
"This is somewhat like claims of cold fusion," said Professor Andrew Steane of Oxford University's Centre for Quantum Computing. "I doubt that this computing method is substantially easier to achieve than any other."But wait a minute, that D-wave blog post says that:
At the demo, what we’re going to do is run two different applications, live, on an Orion system residing in Burnaby, BC. Orion is designed such that it can be used remotely, and this is the mode we’ll be using for the demos.They're going to run a hardware demo in California on brand-new, highly-anticipated, but widely-doubted technology, and the hardware will be a thousand miles away from the demonstration site? Not the greatest marketing concept I've ever heard, and it won't do much to fend off those skeptics no matter how well it seems to work. We'll check back next week.
But in the meantime, D-wave's blog also points to a paper on arxiv.org on the Orion's architecture. Arxiv? Did I mention that I was really busy yesterday? And this news is burning up the gadget blogs, e.g. check out these images posted to Gizmodo...