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Quantum computing

Quantum computing

Google and NASA acquire a D-Wave quantum computer

16 May 2013 Hamish Johnston

By Hamish Johnston

Canada’s D-Wave Systems is installing one of its quantum computers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. The new 512-qubit system – dubbed D-Wave Two – will be used by NASA, Google and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) to investigate how quantum computers could be used to solve a range of different problems. According to Vancouver-based D-Wave, the computer will be available for use in the third quarter of this year.

In a statement released today, D-Wave said that the facility will be used “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 centres”. The system will be accessible to US-based researchers via the USRA.

D-Wave says that Google, NASA and USRA subjected the 512-qubit system to a series of benchmark and acceptance tests before installation. “In all cases, the D-Wave Two system met or exceeded the required performance specifications, in some cases by a large margin,” claimed the firm.

I visited D-Wave last year and spoke to the company’s co-founder Geordie Rose. You can hear some of that conversation and much more about quantum computing in this podcast: Quantum computing: Challenges, triumphs and applications.

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