D-Wave Systems puts the world's first
commercial quantum computer on display in an online demonstration here this
week at the prestigious SCO7 Conference -- an international gathering of
technologists and computer scientists focused on high performance computing,
networking, storage and analysis.
The company introduced its revolutionary 16 qubit machine last February
in Silicon Valley, California. "Advancing the machine to 28 qubits in such a
short space of time lends credibility to our claim of having a scaleable
architecture," stated Herb Martin, D-Wave's CEO. "Our product roadmap takes us
to 512 qubits in the second quarter of 2008 and 1024 qubits by the end of that
year. At this point we will see applications performance far superior to that
available on classical digital machines."
D-Wave will demonstrate an image matching application developed with a
third party collaborator. Company personnel will be available to discuss other
applications involving pattern matching, constrained search and optimization,
according to Martin.
D-Wave was invited to participate in SCO7 as part of the conference's
"disruptive technologies" exhibits and presentation sessions. Dr. Geordie
Rose, a D-Wave founder and Chief Technology Officer will participate in a
panel session and describe the approach D-Wave designed to solve problems
beyond the reach of traditional high performance computing.
D-Wave plans to deploy the machine, code named "Orion", in the last
quarter of 2008 using an on-line service model and providing support for
applications involving pattern matching, constrained search and optimization.
D-Wave claims that in June 2009 the on-line quantum computing service
will be available for "Monte Carlo" simulation targeted at pricing and risk
analysis in the Banking and Insurance community. This will be followed by a
quantum simulation capability for chemical, material and life science
Users of the on-line service will come from government, military,
academia, research, engineering, life sciences and the manufacturing, banking
and insurance, according to Martin. "Today, many applications take inordinate
amounts of time to develop solutions and accuracy is often sacrificed for
timeliness. Our on-line service will provide a cost effective means to improve
these applications so that more accurate solutions can be obtained in a
significantly shorter time period. In addition, some potential applications
are never undertaken because of the limits inherent in digital computing.
D-Wave will open up satisfactory solutions to these so called intractable
problems," said Martin.
D-Wave's quantum computer hardware is supported by a software system that
shields the user from the complexities of the system. "Ease of use was a
primary factor in the design of our software system," said Dr. Bill Macready,
D-Wave vice president of software systems and products. "The software is
designed such that existing applications may be adapted rapidly through the
use of industry standard application programming interfaces. New applications
may be written using the universally adopted SQL with the addition of a
proprietary extension. Interfaces for scientists wishing to program at the
machine language level are also available," he said.
D-Wave is pursuing a partnership strategy with domain software companies
to ensure that a rich selection of applications are available on the on-line
The idea of a computational device based on quantum mechanics was first
explored in the 1970s and early 1980s by physicists and computer scientists
such as Charles Bennett of IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Paul
Benioff of Argonne National Laboratory, David Deutsch of the University of
Oxford, and Richard Feynman of the California Institute of Technology. But to
make the technology commercially applicable required the full-scale, full-time
business effort of an interdisciplinary team such as the one organized by
"We've recruited world-class scientists and software and hardware
engineers to our team in Vancouver, British Columbia," said CTO Rose. "This
strong interdisciplinary team backed by supportive venture investors has
enabled us to create a development capability unique in quantum computing.
Rapid progress to final commercialization will provide the proof point to our
approach," he said
Since inception D-Wave has fostered cooperation and collaboration with
the academic and research communities and has benefited from relationships
with numerous prestigious institutions including the universities of Harvard,
MIT, UC Berkeley, British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. D-Wave also
has affiliations with numerous scientists who are leaders in their respective
specialities. As a producer of protected intellectual property, D-Wave is
unique in quantum computing and superconducting electronics with 42 US patents
issued and over 100 patent cases pending worldwide.
The company recently initiated a program to share some of its
experimental results with scientists at chosen institutions. D-Wave's Dr.
Mohammad Amin is leading this program with presentations during the next month
at MIT, NRC and the Quantum Information Centre.