You might think your brand new gaming rig is a pretty powerful machine. Google laughs at your petty boasting.
Google says their D-Wave 2X quantum computer is more than one hundred million times faster than conventional computer chips. Here’s some of the impressive technical details, from Google director of engineering Hartmut Neven:
We found that for problem instances involving nearly 1,000 binary variables, quantum annealing significantly outperforms its classical counterpart, simulated annealing. It is more than 108 times faster than simulated annealing running on a single core. We also compared the quantum hardware to another algorithm called Quantum Monte Carlo. This is a method designed to emulate the behavior of quantum systems, but it runs on conventional processors. While the scaling with size between these two methods is comparable, they are again separated by a large factor sometimes as high as 108.
The D-Wave is the closest thing we have to quantum computing, which is a machine that deals with qubits instead of conventional bits of data. The switch to qubits allows a supercomputer to make a much greater number of computations at the same time.
The D-Wave is a project backed by venture capitalists that has already sold quantum computers to Lockheed Martin and the Los Alamos National Lab. Google is also working with NASA on the project.
For those interesting in further details, Google has published an entire paper on their findings.