NASA, Google and the Universities Space Research Association are purchasing a quantum computer from D-wave, the Canada-based company that was the first to offer such a machine for commercial use.
The computer will be installed at the new Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, located at NASA's Ames Research Center. The goal is to advance machine learning through quantum computing.
"D-Wave has made significant strides in the technology, application and now commercialization of quantum computing," Steve Conway, IDC research vice president for high performance computing, said. "The order for a D-Wave Two system for the initiative launched by NASA, Google and USRA attests to the revolutionary potential of this fundamentally different approach to computing for both industry and government. HPC buyers and users are looking for ways to speed up their applications beyond what contemporary technologies can deliver. IDC believes organizations that depend on leading-edge technology would do well to begin exploring the possibilities for quantum computing."
Applications for the computer are expected to include speech recognition, web search, search for exoplanets, planning and scheduling and support operations in mission control centers. The collaboration conducted a series of benchmarks on the system prior to their selection and found that requirements were met or exceeded. Within the next year or two, the trio plan to upgrade the machine to 2,048 qubits. This will boost the machine's power exponentially.
"We are extremely pleased to make this announcement," Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave, said. "Three world class organizations and their research teams will use the D-Wave Two to develop real world applications and to support research from leading academic institutions. This joint effort shows that quantum computing has expanded beyond the theoretical realm and into the worlds of business and technology."