PALO ALTO, CA — D-Wave Systems, the world’s first quantum computing company, announced that Los Alamos National Laboratory will acquire and install the latest D-Wave quantum computer, the 1000+ qubit D-Wave 2X system. Los Alamos, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, will lead a collaboration within the Department of Energy and with select university partners to explore the capabilities and applications of quantum annealing technology, consistent with the goals of the government-wide National Strategic Computing Initiative. The National Strategic Computing Initiative, created by executive order of President Barack Obama in late July, is intended “to maximize [the] benefits of high-performance computing (HPC) research, development, and deployment.”
“Eventually, Moore’s Law (that predicted that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every two years) will come to an end,” said John Sarrao, associate director for Theory, Simulation, and Computation at Los Alamos. “Dennard Scaling (that predicted that performance per watt of computing would grow exponentially at roughly the same rate) already has. Beyond these two observations lies the end of the current ‘conventional’ computing era, so new technologies and ideas are needed.”
D-Wave’s quantum annealing technology leverages quantum effects to quickly find the lowest points in a virtual “energy landscape.” These low points correspond to optimal or near optimal solutions to a given problem. In addition, D-Wave’s superconducting processor generates almost no heat, so the system’s power requirements, currently less than 25 kW, will remain low as the computer continues to scale. This is in stark contrast to current supercomputers that can require many megawatts of power, a huge impediment as the need for computational resources continues to grow.
“As conventional computers reach their limits in terms of scaling and performance per watt, we need to investigate new technologies to support our mission,” said Mark Anderson of the Laboratory’s Weapons Physics Directorate. “Researching and evaluating quantum annealing as the basis for new approaches to address intractable problems is an essential and powerful step, and will enable a new generation of forward thinkers to influence its evolution in a direction most beneficial to the nation.”
“Los Alamos is a global leader in high-performance computing and a pioneer in the application of new architectures to solve critical problems related to national security, energy, the environment, materials, health and earth science,” said Robert “Bo” Ewald, president of D-Wave U.S. “As we work jointly with scientists and engineers at Los Alamos, we expect to be able to accelerate the pace of quantum software development to advance the state of algorithms, applications and software tools for quantum computing.”
The D-Wave 2X system is expected to be installed at Los Alamos in early 2016.
About D-Wave Systems
D-Wave Systems is the first quantum computing company. Its mission is to integrate new discoveries in physics, engineering, manufacturing and computer science into breakthrough approaches to computation to help solve some of the world’s most complex challenges. The company’s quantum computers are built using a novel type of superconducting processor that uses quantum mechanics to massively accelerate computation. D-Wave’s customers include some of the world’s most prominent organizations including Lockheed Martin and Google, whose system is hosted at NASA’s Ames Research Center. With headquarters near Vancouver, Canada, D-Wave U.S. is based in Palo Alto, California. D-Wave has a blue-chip investor base including Bezos Expeditions, BDC Capital, DFJ, Goldman Sachs, Growthworks, Harris & Harris Group, In-Q-Tel, International Investment and Underwriting, and Kensington Partners Limited.