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Researchers at IBM and the University of California are questioning whether a closely watched experimental computer used by Google actually relies on quantum mechanics as its manufacturer, D-Wave, claims.

At the heart of the battle is a question about the validity of quantum computing, which some predict may offer a road forward after Intel and other chip manufacturers exhaust “and reach the physical limits” of how powerful they can make their processors.

D-Wave claims it does. D-Wave charges that the IBM and university researchers confined their study to only one aspect of what its computer can do.

“A successful theory needs to explain all the existing experimental results, not just a narrowly selected subset of them,” said Colin Williams, the business development director for D-Wave, of the researchers’ work. “The right theory has to explain all of the data, not just some of the data.”

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