(Gizmodo) NASA, Lockheed Martin, and Los Alamos National Lab have already purchased thousand-qubit quantum simulators for approximately $10 million to $15 million from D-Wave even though quantum computing is still in its early days. These researchers want to start approaching problems and puzzles from a quantum computing mindset as early as possible even though the technology is still research-oriented and experimental. Organizations such as Volkswagen are hoping to eventually use quantum computers to solve problems, like predicting elections, routing taxis in traffic jams, or picking crucial data out of background noise. No one yet claims to have found the killer app that will bring quantum computing power to the masses. Yet as these researchers continue to refine their ideas, they’ll be ready for the day some future D-Wave machine, or any other quantum computer, might provide real benefits.
D-Wave has built devices with 128, 512, 1,000, and now 2,048 qubits. These days, people aren’t nearly as impressed with the sheer number of the qubits as they are with their controllability, or whether they can remain quantum for a long time without degrading. But even with those caveats, lots of companies and researchers have taken interest. Maria Spiropulu, a physicist at the Large Hadron Collider and CalTech, used Lockheed Martin’s D-Wave device kept at CalTech in order to identify Higgs bosons in Large Hadron Collider data. “To me, the interest was whether I could get new solutions I wouldn’t get from other machines, or get to the neighborhood of a solution faster,” said Spiropulu. “I thought, instead of talking about it, let’s try some problems to test it.”
NOTE: D-Wave’s Principal Research Scientist Edward “Denny” Dahl will deliver a keynote at Inside Quantum Technology’s upcoming summit “The Future of Quantum Computing, Quantum Cryptography and Quantum Sensors” in Boston, March 19-21.