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Defining and detecting quantum speedup

Science  19 Jun 2014:
pp.
DOI: 10.1126/science.1252319

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Abstract

The development of small-scale quantum devices raises the question of how to fairly assess and detect quantum speedup. Here we show how to define and measure quantum speedup, and how to avoid pitfalls that might mask or fake such a speedup. We illustrate our discussion with data from tests run on a D-Wave Two device with up to 503 qubits. Using random spin glass instances as a benchmark, we find no evidence of quantum speedup when the entire data set is considered, and obtain inconclusive results when comparing subsets of instances on an instance-by-instance basis. Our results do not rule out the possibility of speedup for other classes of problems and illustrate the subtle nature of the quantum speedup question.

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