D-Wave Systems Inc. , a Burnaby-based commercial quantum computing company, has announced that its new 512-qubit quantum computer, the D-Wave Two, will be installed at the new Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab , a collaboration among NASA, Google and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). The purpose of this effort is to use quantum computing to advance machine learning in order to solve some of the most challenging computer science problems. Installation has already begun at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, and the system is expected to be available to researchers during Q3.
Researchers at Google, NASA and USRA expect to use the D-Wave system to develop applications for a broad range of complex problems such as machine learning, web search, speech recognition, planning and scheduling, search for exoplanets, and support operations in mission control centers. Via USRA the system will also be available  to the broader U.S. academic community.
“D-Wave has made significant strides in the technology, application and now commercialization of quantum computing,” said Steve Conway, IDC research vice president for high performance computing. “The order for a D-Wave Two system for the initiative launched by NASA, Google and USRA attests to the revolutionary potential of this fundamentally different approach to computing for both industry and government. HPC buyers and users are looking for ways to speed up their applications beyond what contemporary technologies can deliver. IDC believes organizations that depend on leading-edge technology would do well to begin exploring the possibilities for quantum computing.”
As part of the selection process, Google, NASA and USRA created a series of benchmark and acceptance tests that the new D-Wave 512-qubit system was required to pass before the installation at NASA Ames could proceed. In all cases, the D-Wave Two system met or exceeded the required performance specifications, in some cases by a large margin.
“We are extremely pleased to make this announcement,” stated Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave. “Three world class organizations and their research teams will use the D-Wave Two to develop real world applications and to support research from leading academic institutions. This joint effort shows that quantum computing has expanded beyond the theoretical realm and into the worlds of business and technology.”