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Quantum computing is being hailed as the future of data processing, with promises of performing calculations thousands of times faster than modern supercomputers while consuming magnitudes less electricity. And in the span of just two years the only commercially available quantum computer, the D-Wave One, has already doubled its computational power. Kiss your law goodbye, Mr. Moore.

Quantum computing differs from classical computing at its most fundamental level. While traditional computers rely on the alternate bit states of 1 and 0 to store data, quantum computers exploit the fuzzy effects of quantum mechanics, allowing its "qubits" to exist as a 1, 0, or both simultaneously, a.k.a "superposition." So while a traditional computer will sequentially explore the potential solutions to a mathematical optimization problem, the quantum system looks at every potential solution simultaneously, known as quantum annealing, and returns answers—not just the single "best" but nearly 10,000 close alternatives as well—in roughly a second. What's more, unlike traditional computers which rely on logic gates to manipulate bits, the D-Wave system uses an adiabatic, which reads out the ground state of its qubits to find a solution.

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