Today D-Wave Systems 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.
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.”
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.
“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 D-Wave U.S. President Bo Ewald. “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.