D-Wave’s Year of Computing Dangerously

After a year of outside investigation, questions remain about a controversial quantum computer

5 min read
D-Wave’s Year of Computing Dangerously
Soul of The Machine: What’s going on inside the D-Wave Two is still a matter of debate.
Photo: D-Wave Systems

When in 1935 physicist Erwin Schrödinger proposed his thought experiment involving a cat that could be both dead and alive, he could have been talking about D-Wave Systems. The Canadian start-up is the maker of what it claims is the world’s first commercial-scale quantum computer. But exactly what its computer does and how well it does it remain as frustratingly unknown as the health of Schrödinger’s poor puss. D-Wave has succeeded in attracting big-name customers such as Google and Lockheed Martin Corp. But many scientists still doubt the long-term viability of D-Wave’s technology, which has defied scientific understanding of quantum computing from the start.

D-Wave has spent the last year trying to solidify its claims and convince the doubters. “We have the world’s first programmable quantum computer, and we have third-party results to prove it computes,” says Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave.

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The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Vertical
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton
Pink

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

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