Google and NASA Partner in Quantum Computing Project

May 21, 2013

Vendor D-Wave scores big with a sale to NASA's Quantum Intelligence Lab.

A Real Quantum Computer Enters the Wild

The innovative computer vendor D-Wave, which is known as the "quantum computing company," has sold a commercial quantum computing system to Google and NASA.

Canadian vendor D-Wave sold a commercial quantum computing system to a partnership consisting of Google, NASA, and the non-profit Universities Space Research Association. The system will be part of NASA's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at California's Ames Research Center.

Many are surprised with the arrival of quantum computing, an esoteric concept that existed for years only in the thought games of theoretical physicists. The system, which is wholly unlike any conventional system on the market today, operates through quantum superposition, in which a particle inhabits two states simultaneously. According to experts, quantum computers should be many times faster than conventional computers at solving a certain class of optimization problems. The Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab will set to work on testing whether the D-Wave Two system is indeed faster, and, if so, whether artificial intelligence questions could be modelled using the type of optimization algorithms that are suited to quantum computing.

D-Wave is not without sceptics, and some have even questioned whether the highly complex D-Wave system is a quantum computer at all, or whether it might be obtaining its results through a more conventional process, although a recent paper seems to confirm that the system is indeed operating through quantum superpositon.

Canadian-based D-Wave also recently announced that it is opening a new office in the USA and has hired former SGI CEO Robert "Bo" Ewald to head up the US business.

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