Why the world’s fastest quantum computer … really isn’t a quantum computer

In July 2016, Lockheed Martin made improvements to the Quantum Computation Center housed at the USC Facts Sciences Institute, growing its qubit capability to one,098.

It’s brand new step in a process that’s been happening for six and a 1/2 years, as the worldwide protection and aerospace enterprise attempts to carve out an area within the fast-moving field of quantum computing.

In twenty years, this technology could have a massive effect on the whole thing from educational studies tasks to on-line cybersecurity — but Lockheed Martin’s usage demonstrates that a number of the blessings of quantum computing will be even toward fruition, even if a completely practical quantum laptop is some distances off.
lockheed martin d wave quantum annealer x usc v
Quantum Soar

The first quantum machine that Lockheed Martin bought from D-Wave was a 128-qubit processor codenamed “Rainier,” which otherwise went through the name D-Wave One. It was later upgraded to the 512-qubit “Vesuvius,” which become itself lately upgraded to the 1,152-qubit D-Wave 2X.

“It’s far commercially to be had — you can move purchase one — but it’s truly a research and development, experimental kind of gadget,” stated Greg Tallant, head of Lockheed Martin’s Quantum Computation Center (QCC). “It’s now not equipped for production in the feel of, you can purchase one and use it in the way which you use computer systems now.”


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Before making a buy, Lockheed Martin representatives visited D-Wave at its headquarters in Vancouver a couple of instances. The business enterprise determined that the hardware had “capability and promise,” and so the choice turned into made to purchase considered one of their systems. The subsequent step was to forge a partnership with the College of Southern California, which resulted within the Quantum Computation Center, a facility this is part of the group’s Viterbi School of Engineering.

USC’s part of the bargain allows them to carry out research the use of the hardware, largely concerning the space that D-Wave’s gadget occupies as compared to other quantum computer systems, and benchmarking the system. In the meantime, Lockheed Martin can take that Facts and investigate what applications would gain its interests.

Validation and verification was the inspiration for the program, however now it’s increasing into other regions. Machine studying is a pinnacle precedence, but there’s also area for the device to be implemented within the field of making plans and scheduling — perhaps no longer the most glamorous use of  technology, but clearly an effective utility.

“Because the quantity of variables in the hassle grows, the quantity of possibilities you have to consider grows exponentially,” Tallant defined. “The hassle that’s used at an educational degree to explain this sort of usage is the travelling salesman hassle.”

D-Wave 2x
The touring salesman problem hinges around a list of cities that a hypothetical product-pusher has to visit, and the distances among them. The solution is the shortest possible direction among those places that visits every metropolis the best once Earlier than returning to the factor of origin. It may be solved the use of these days’s computer systems, of course, however quantum hardware ought to potentially provide drastic velocity-ups, specially as the number of towns grows.

Tallant and his crew haven’t yet been able to exhibit that their D-Wave hardware might be able to offer a bonus over classical computer systems on this application. However, progress is being made, and similarly advances are expected thanks to the powerful 1,152-qubit processor that the agency purchased in July.