Just stumbled on reports of a new company called InfinityQ that makes an analogue version of a quantum computer.
Seems like a REALLY good idea to me - and they've been in the news since April/May - so why haven't I heard of them?
Looking carefully at the reports about what they claim, my nose started twitching: thankfully, I happen to know a bit about the Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP). It has been solved exactly to a size of 85,900 points (link
). So when they claimed that their computer had solved it to 128 points (link
), and that this was supposedly superior to other methods (same article), I wondered what they were talking about. On looking deeper, I found that they were comparing not with integer programming techniques, but with a purpose-built piece of hardware (link
So now I know why I hadn't heard of a company building what sounds like a brilliant idea - analogue quantum computing. It's crap.
Looking into it still more, what they're ACTUALLY doing seems to be closely analogous to simulated annealing. Lo and behold - the Wiki article about simulated annealing says it can solve the Travelling Salesman problem exactly to...
... drum roll...
... 125 points (link
A serious point, though: this is just a suspicion, and I could well be wrong (but if I'm right, remember that you heard it from me first!
), but... could it be that what real quantum computers are doing is actually a form of simulated annealing? If so, if might be more limited than many people are hoping for right now.
Damn and blast! I'm not the first person to have said this - link