Scientific community still has its doubts on the D-Wave quantum computer - Is it legit?

12/30/2013 - 00:00

On the surface, D-Wave’s quantum computer looks revolutionary. Google, NASA, and Lockheed Martin are all customers. The company has published articles on its merits in 60 peer-reviewed scientific journals.  

But a very vocal naysayer isn't on board with the company's claims—the scientific community. 

Scientists accept that D-Wave has built a very fast computer. The controversy lies in D-Wave's inability to satisfactorily convince physicists that its computer is actually harnessing the mindbending properties of quantum mechanics. 

D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell says that scientists are still caught up in the theories of quantum computing, while D-Wave has moved on to practical applications. In the meantime, he said D-Wave’s scientific publications and star-studded customers should speak for themselves.

“We recognize controversy is out there, but the reality of any new groundbreaking technology is that controversy is always going to be out there,” he said. 

But according to Christopher Monroe, the Bice Zorn Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland and fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, it’s not the science community’s burden to prove. D-Wave will have to convince them first. 

“It’s incredible they’ve been allowed to take it this far,” he said. “They do publish questionable papers, but they don’t publish data on the foundations of their system because they can’t.”