D-Wave is a very exciting project, but the implications are fuzzy. “D-Wave claims that its 512-qubit D-Wave Two computer is the most advanced quantum computer in the world,” according to The Register. That sounds awesome, but what does it mean? What are the practical applications of this technology? Over $174M has been invested in D-Wave, it seems, to solve large world problems millions of times faster than the average computer could. But, as Eleanor at NASA mentions, we don’t know the right questions to ask the quantum computer, and so we’re not able to fully leverage its capabilities. Not yet.
I’m reminded of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, when the supercomputer answers the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything…and the answer is simply, 42. What if we finally do come up with the right question and D-Wave gives us that sort of cryptic answer? What will we discover along the path to finding the right question?