On Fri, May 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> This is what makes one think the D-wave may just be a special purpose
> machine,

There is no "may be" about it, as I said D-wave's chip is a special purpose
machine, but if it can solve the protein folding problem that's one hell of
a special purpose.

> > For example if you wanted to find the EM field that minimizes the energy
> for a give configuration of charges that's a had problem for a general
> purpose computer using the best digital algorithm, but it's a trivial
> problem for a special purpose computer that just puts charges in those
> places and measures the field.

Yes then you could forget about calculation and just measure the electric
field at any point you were interested in, but what if you were given the
complicated shape of the electric field and wanted to know the
configuration of positive and negative charges that would produce it?  More
practically how do you arrange the 20 amino acids, some of which attract
each other while others repel, so that they have the least energy; that is
to say, if I want to form a given shape what linear sequence of amino acids
do I need so that they all fold up into that given shape? Solving this
problem would have huge implications for medicine and for the development
of advanced Nanotechnology, but it's a problem too big for conventional
computers but perhaps not for a adiabatic quantum computer of D-Wave's sort
if it had a few thousand qubits or so.

> I'd like to see a paper on its theory of operation.

To my knowledge such a paper does not yet exist, at least not a detailed
definitive one. The paper I gave a link to was about the results of it's
operation, it was empirical not theoretical. They have some general hunches
but even the people who made it don't claim to know exactly how D-Wave's
machine works. There are even some who say that it doesn't even calculate
using quantum mechanical principles, although the number of people saying
that is much smaller now than it was a year ago. And however it works there
is now little doubt that it does.

  John K Clark

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