Summary: on some exotic hardware we can find good solutions (heuristic) for some combinatorial problems much faster than with Cplex on standard hardware.
I am not familiar with what is this really is. Some more information is here:
- Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Wave_Systems (the picture below is also from Wikidepia).
- Company web-site: http://www.dwavesys.com/en/dw_homepage.html
- In-depth blog posting: http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=1400
- More blogs postings: http://mat.tepper.cmu.edu/blog/?p=1786, https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/jfp/entry/will_quantum_computing_kill_cplex
- USC paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.4595
- The Economist! http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21578027-first-real-world-contests-between-quantum-computers-and-standard-ones-faster
Photograph of a chip constructed by D-Wave Systems Inc. designed to operate as a 128-qubit superconducting adiabatic quantum optimization processor, mounted in a sample holder. (Source: Wikipedia)
Note: the paper is located at the NY Times?
PS: the box is a bit larger than I expected: