Souped-Up Software Gets a Virtual Test

Science  20 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5516, pp. 419
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5516.419

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In theory, quantum computers can outpace conventional ones a billionfold, but how do you test a potential "killer app" for a machine that doesn't yet exist? If you have time, you can run it on machines that do exist. That's how researchers pitted a quantum algorithm against one of the toughest problems in computer science. In preliminary tests, described on page 472 of this issue, the algorithm racked up an encouraging virtual track record that left some scientists hankering for more.