Nondeterministic polynomial (NP) problems are the most difficult to solve on conventional computers because each variable adds yet another dimension to its possible solutions. Each must be calculated and compared to find an optimal solution. Consequently, conventional computers almost never achieve completely optimal results, but rather use approximation techniques to save computer time. . . . Quantum computers, on the other hand, can evaluate all possible solutions simultaneously and find the optimal solution, often in just a few clock cycles, thereby not only vastly speeding up the time taken to find the solution but also finding the most optimal result.NP-complete problems include database searches, pattern-matching, drug discovery, disease identification, and finding matches for genetic material. D-Wave Systems doesn't plan to sell quantum computers to organizations that need to solve such problems just yet, though. Instead, EE Times says the company intends to start off by leasing time on the computer over a secure Internet connection.
The Orion processor solves these problems by loading its parameters into its 16 superconducting qubits, or quantum bits called thermally assisted adiabatic quantum computers (TAQCs). Each qubit can simultaneously take on all possible values for each parameter, and thus can more quickly perform the necessary comparisons and find the closest solution.