NASA, Google buy quantum computer from B.C. firm
A quantum computer has been purchased from Burnaby, B.C.-based D-Wave Systems by a NASA-led group that aims to solve problems requiring creativity — something that conventional computers aren't good at.
The D-Wave Two is currently being installed at the new Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and should be up and running this fall, D-Wave announced Thursday.
The lab is a collaboration among NASA, Google and the Universities Space Research Association, who expect to use the quantum computer to tackle problems related to machine learning, web searching, speech recognition, planning and scheduling, searching for exoplanets, and supporting operations in mission control centres. The USRA will also make the system available to other U.S. academic institutions.
"We are extremely pleased to make this announcement," said Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave in a statement.
"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."
Quantum computers store data in units called qubits, analogous to the bits used in conventional computers. But while each conventional bit stores information as either 1 or 0, qubits make use of quantum mechanics — laws of physics that apply only to very small particles such as atoms — to encode information as both 1 and 0 at the same time.
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