At the Supercomputing Conference '07 in Nevada, D-Wave demonstrated at 28 qubits commercial quantum computer and hoped to scale that to 1024 qubits by the end of 2008.
Monday's demo, at the SC07 supercomputing show in Reno, Nevada, used an algorithm from Dr. Neven, whose company Neven Vision was bought by Google last year, running on a system that D-Wave Systems of Canada claims has 28 qubits. D-Wave uses "adiabatic" quantum computing, a method that it says can solve specific problems without the need for long decoherence times.
Quantum computing has long been hailed as the paradigm shift that could solve many computationally accurate and intensive tasks. But real world systems haven't exactly been developed.
D-Wave's demonstration involved an image search algorithm developed by Dr. Hartmut Neven. But D-Wave's intention to keep others in the industry out of the progress on the exact technology has resulted in immense skepticism.
An excerpt from BBC:
"It was not quite what we understand as quantum computing," said Professor Ekert. "The demonstrations they showed could have been solved by conventional computers."
However, Professor Ekert believes that quantum computing will eventually come of age.
An explanation of exactly what Quantum computing seeks to achieve has been briefly explained by Ed Burnette at ZDNet:
D-Wave's quantum computer works by seeking the lowest energy state given a set of inputs and constraints. Imagine turning the dial on your FM radio. You go past a strong signal, then reverse the dial and go back and forth until you zero in on the station. Now imagine you have thousands of knobs to turn. That should give you an idea of what goes on in a quantum computer when it's running a program, except that instead of gradually getting stronger or weaker the signal flips between different discrete quantum states. Occasionally, the computer might settle on the wrong answer, explains Rose, so they run each program 8 times and take the majority answer. It's weird, but it seems to work.
Progress in Quantum Computing (HPCWire)