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The performance and quantum nature of the D-Wave 2 processor continues to be a topic of discussion with every new data release, and the performance figures that Google released in late January were no exception. The company has now followed up these figures with a second blog post that describes its own interpretation of the results, what it intends to test next, and what the future of the program is likely to be.

The key question at the heart of the D-Wave enigma is whether or not the system is actually performing quantum annealing. In theory, the D-Wave 2 processor could be an excellent simulation of a quantum computer — possibly the best simulation ever built — but still, ultimately, an approximation of what the real thing would offer. The only way to determine whether or not the D-Wave performs true quantum annealing is to find a test case in which the D-Wave 2 outperforms even the best classical (meaning, standard) computers.

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