This glib article from the Wired Blog Gadgets Lab discusses some of the “crazy” ideas for building computers. Among them, of course, are quantum computers, which means, of course that a quantum computing bastardization, can’t be far from behind.
Let’s begin at the beginning:
Sudoku. That’s all D-Wave’s quantum computer is good for right now, and even then they wouldn’t let us hacks see it in the flesh.
By lining up subatomic particles to encode information in a manner similar to the binary data found in conventional computers, such computers create “quantum bits,” subject to the strange workings of quantum physics.
Okay, so we won’t nitpick on whether D-Wave really has a “quantum computer” or not, and whether D-wave’s demonstration of solving a small Sudoku is at all impressive, but we might like to point out that playing a general version of Sudoku is computationally probably very hard. But as far as things normally go in articles on quantum computers, this isn’t such a bad beginning.
Then things get whacked:
The payoff is that calculations get done without any old-school relativistic inefficiencies getting the way: less heat production, less power consumption, more grunt.
Maybe I’m not parsing this right: “relativistic inefficiencies?” Heat production, less power consumptions, more grunt has, as far as I know, absolutely no obvious connection to relativity. And certainly the benefit of quantum computers is not less heat production, etc, but that quantum computers can perform some computational tasks more efficiently than classical computers. Of course quantum computers are reversible computers, and there are claims about such computers having less power consumption (less heat production seems to me to be more of a pipe dream: external noise creating entropy in a system would have to be completely eliminated which seems to me to be a pipe dream.) But it certainly isn’t the main motivating factor behind the quest to build a quantum computer.