A quantum laptop on your desk?

2 minute read

Email processing and PPC advertising are just two of the applications of Google’s (newish) D-Wave computer system. While it hasn’t made a significant dent yet on the Top500 list, D-Wave has the potential for being one of the fastest computer technologies ever made.

Why? Because while other supercompute technology is based on traditional (if increasingly GPU/co-processor accelerated) chip mechanics, D-Wave Systems are currently the only manufacturer to base their technology on quantum physics.


Traditional chip technology uses a very simple binary process. Bits are either on or off, true or false, 1 or 0. The so-called ‘Qubit’ quantum chips of D-Wave Systems have the advantage of being able to be in both states at the same time (remember Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle?) The D-Wave system also uses a novel minimum energy approach to problem solving seeking low points in the energy space associated with a particular solution. In theory these features mean significant advantages for certain applications including large data processing and search algorithms – problems that are central to Google’s world, and indirectly to our own.

So for us?

Well, one of the advantages of a cloud-based solution (like Sign-Up.to) is the minimal IT infrastructure that as a consumer you actually need – a laptop and a good internet connection will do fine. But all that computing requirement goes somewhere. As a cloud technology provider, we’ve recently upgraded our own servers (Dell PowerEdge with Intel Xeon E5 processors) but it’s true to say we’re still firmly in the area of traditional binary technology.

But who knows, perhaps it won’t be so long before you’ll be finding a quantum laptop on your desk?