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D-Wave, a company we have covered extensively in the past, has taken some heat because a number of tests have shown that its adiabatic quantum optimizer is no faster than a regular computer. But the company is now claiming that its machine is between two to 600 times faster than a classical computer. What happened to obtain such a huge speed-up? A new benchmark, that's what.

I remember when every OS manufacturer, chip maker, and video card vendor would either cheat or invent a new benchmark in order to claim to be the fastest. So my eyes initially rolled so hard that Newton's third law just about kicked me out of my chair. After recovering from the muscle strain, I got a hold of the paper, and much to my surprise, I agree with the authors.

Before I get to the D-Wave benchmark, let's take a quick look at how a naive benchmark might work. You can set your computer a task and time how long it takes to perform it. Or you can set it a repetitive set of fundamental operations (say multiplying two numbers) and see how many operations it can perform per second.

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