|Headquarters||Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada|
|Key people||Vern Brownell, CEO
Geordie Rose, CTO
V. Paul Lee, Chair
|Products||D-Wave Two, Orion Web Services|
D-Wave Systems, Inc. is a quantum computing company, based in Burnaby, British Columbia. On May 11, 2011, D-Wave System announced D-Wave One, labeled "the world's first commercially available quantum computer," operating on a 128 qubit chip-set using quantum annealing  to solve optimization problems. In May 2013 it was announced that a collaboration between NASA, Google and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) launched a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab using a 512 qubit D-Wave Two that would be used for research into machine learning, among other fields of study.
The D-Wave One was built on early prototypes such as D-Wave's Orion Quantum Computer. The prototype was a 16-qubit quantum annealing processor, demonstrated on February 13, 2007 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. D-Wave demonstrated what they claimed to be a 28-qubit quantum annealing processor on November 12, 2007. The chip was fabricated at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab's microdevices lab in Pasadena, California.
- 1 Technology description
- 2 History
- 3 Orion prototype
- 4 D-Wave One computer system
- 5 D-Wave Two computer system
- 6 History of controversy
- 7 Notable alumni and collaborators
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
As of June 2010, it has been published that a D-Wave processor comprises a programmable superconducting integrated circuit with up to 128 pair-wise coupled superconducting flux qubits. The processor is designed to implement a special-purpose quantum annealing as opposed to being operated as a universal gate-model quantum computer.
D-Wave maintains a list of peer-reviewed technical publications on their website.
D-Wave was founded by Haig Farris (former chair of board), Geordie Rose (CTO and former CEO), Bob Wiens (former CFO), and Alexandre Zagoskin (former VP Research and Chief Scientist). Farris taught an entrepreneurship course at UBC (University of British Columbia), where Rose obtained his Ph.D. and Zagoskin was a postdoctoral fellow. The company name refers to their first qubit designs, which used d-wave superconductors.
D-Wave operated as an offshoot from UBC, while maintaining ties with the Department of Physics and Astronomy. It funded academic research in quantum computing, thus building a collaborative network of research scientists. The company collaborated with several universities and institutions, including UBC, IPHT Jena, Université de Sherbrooke, University of Toronto, University of Twente, Chalmers University of Technology, University of Erlangen, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. These researchers worked with D-Wave scientists and engineers. Some of D-Wave's peer-reviewed technical publications come from this period. Some publications have D-Wave employees as authors, while others include employees of their partners as well or only. As of 2005, these partnerships were no longer listed on D-Wave's website.
D-Wave operated from various locations in Vancouver, Canada, and laboratory spaces at UBC before moving to its current location in the neighboring suburb of Burnaby.
On February 13, 2007, D-Wave demonstrated the Orion system, running three different applications at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. This marked the first public demonstration of, supposedly, a quantum computer and associated service.
The first application, an example of pattern matching, performed a search for a similar compound to a known drug within a database of molecules. The next application computed a seating arrangement for an event subject to compatibilities and incompatibilities between guests. The last involved solving a Sudoku puzzle.
The processors at the heart of D-Wave's "Orion quantum computing system" are hardware accelerators designed to solve a particular NP-complete problem related to the two dimensional Ising model in a magnetic field. D-Wave terms the device a 16-qubit superconducting adiabatic quantum computer processor.
According to the company, a conventional front end running an application that requires the solution of an NP-complete problem, such as pattern matching, passes the problem to the Orion system. However, the company does not make the claim its systems can solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time.
According to Dr. Geordie Rose, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of D-Wave, NP-complete problems "are probably not exactly solvable, no matter how big, fast or advanced computers get" so the adiabatic quantum computer used by the Orion system is intended to quickly compute an approximate solution.
2009 Google demonstration
D-Wave One computer system
On May 11, 2011, D-Wave Systems announced the D-Wave One, an integrated quantum computer system running on a 128 qubit processor. The processor used in the D-Wave One code-named "Rainier", performs a single mathematical operation named Discrete optimization. Rainier uses a process called quantum annealing to solve optimization problems. The D-Wave One is claimed to be the world's first commercially available quantum computer system. The cost will be approximately $10,000,000.
A research team led by Matthias Troyer and Daniel Lidar found that, while there is evidence of quantum annealing in D-Wave One, they saw no speedup compared to classical computers. They implemented an optimized classical algorithm to solve the same particular problem as the D-Wave One.
Lockheed Martin and D-Wave collaboration
On May 25, 2011, Lockheed Martin signed a multi-year contract with D-Wave Systems to realize the benefits based upon a quantum annealing processor applied to some of Lockheed's most challenging computation problems. The contract also includes maintenance, associated professional services, and the purchase of the D-Wave One Quantum Computer System.
Optimization problem solving in protein structure determination
In August 2012, a team of Harvard University researchers presented results of the largest protein folding problem solved to date using a quantum computer. The researchers solved instances of a lattice protein folding model, known as the Miyazawa-Jernigan model, on a D-Wave One quantum computer.
D-Wave Two computer system
In May 2013, Catherine McGeoch, hired as a consultant for D-Wave, published the first comparison of the technology against regular top-end desktop computers running an optimization algorithm. Using a configuration with 439 qubits, the system performed 3,600 times as fast as the best algorithm (CPLEX) on the conventional machine, solving problems with 100 or more variables in half a second compared with half an hour. However, she admitted that the comparison is "not quite fair, because generic computers will always perform less well than a device dedicated to solving a specific problem". The results are presented at the Computing Frontiers 2013 conference.
In May 2013 it was announced that a collaboration between NASA, Google and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) launched a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division at Ames Research Center in California, using a 512 qubit D-Wave Two that would be used for research into machine learning, among other fields of study.
History of controversy
D-Wave was originally criticized by some scientists in the quantum computing field. However, on May 16, 2013 NASA and Google, together with a consortium of universities, announced a partnership with D-Wave to investigate how D-Wave's computers could be used in the creation of artificial intelligence. Prior to announcing this partnership, NASA, Google, and Universities Space Research Association put a D-Wave computer through a series of benchmark and acceptance tests which it passed. Independent researchers found that D-Wave's computers can solve some problems as much as 3,600 times faster than particular software packages running on digital computers. Other independent researchers found that different software packages running on a single core of a desktop computer can solve those same problems as fast or faster than D-Wave's computers (at least 12,000 times faster for Quadratic Assignment problems, and between 1 and 50 times faster for Quadratic Unconstrained Binary Optimization problems).
Their claimed speedup over classical algorithms appears to be based on a misunderstanding of a paper my colleagues van Dam, Mosca and I wrote on "The power of adiabatic quantum computing." That speed up unfortunately does not hold in the setting at hand, and therefore D-Wave's "quantum computer" even if it turns out to be a true quantum computer, and even if it can be scaled to thousands of qubits, would likely not be more powerful than a cell phone.
Wim van Dam, a professor at UC Santa Barbara, summarized the scientific community consensus as of 2008 in the journal Nature Physics:
At the moment it is impossible to say if D-Wave's quantum computer is intrinsically equivalent to a classical computer or not. So until more is known about their error rates, caveat emptor is the least one can say.
An article in the May 12, 2011 edition of Nature gives details which critical academics say proves that the company's chips do have some of the quantum mechanical properties needed for quantum computing. Prior to the 2011 Nature paper, D-Wave was criticized for lacking proof that its computer was in fact a quantum computer. Nevertheless, questions remain due to the lack of conclusive experimental proof of quantum entanglement inside D-Wave devices.
MIT professor Scott Aaronson, self-described "Chief D-Wave Skeptic", originally said that D-Wave's demonstrations did not prove anything about the workings of the computer. He said that a useful quantum computer would require a huge breakthrough in physics, which has not been published or shared with the physics community. Aaronson in May 2011 updated his views, announcing that he was "retiring as Chief D-wave Skeptic" in 2011, and reporting his "skeptical but positive" views based on a visit to D-Wave in February 2012. Aaronson alleged one of the most important reasons for his new position on D-Wave was the aforementioned article in Nature. In May 16 2013 again he resumed his skeptic post. He now criticizes D-Wave for blowing results out of proportion on press releases that claim speedups of three orders of magnitude, while at the same time a recently published paper by scientists from ETH Zurich that had access to a 128 qubit D-Wave computer outperformed it by a factor of 15 using regular digital computers and applying classical Metaheuristics (particularly simulated annealing) to the problem that D-Wave's computer is specifically designed to solve.
Notable alumni and collaborators
D-Wave has employed or hired on a contract basis several key members of the scientific community as well as several notable business consultants. A partial list includes:
- Dmitri V. Averin (Stony Brook)
- Jacob Biamonte (ISI Foundation)
- Alexandre Zagoskin (Loughborough University)
- M. W. Johnson et al (2011), Quantum annealing with manufactured spins (Nature)
- "T. Kadowaki and H. Nishimori, "Quantum annealing in the transverse Ising model", Phys. Rev. E 58, 5355 (1998)".
- "A. B. Finilla, M. A. Gomez, C. Sebenik and D. J. Doll, "Quantum annealing: A new method for minimizing multidimensional functions", Chem. Phys. Lett. 219, 343 (1994)".
- "G. E. Santoro and E. Tosatti, "Optimization using quantum mechanics: quantum annealing through adiabatic evolution", J. Phys. A 39, R393 (2006)".
- "A. Das and B. K. Chakrabarti, "Colloquium: Quantum annealing and analog quantum computation" Rev. Mod. Phys. 80, 1061 (2008)".
- Choi, Charles (May 16, 2013). "Google and NASA Launch Quantum Computing AI Lab". MIT Technology Review.
- "Quantum Computing Demo Announcement". 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- D-Wave Systems: News
- A picture of the demo chip « rose.blog
- M. W. Johnson et al., "A scalable control system for a superconducting adiabatic quantum optimization processor," Supercond. Sci. Technol. 23, 065004 (2010); preprint available: arXiv:0907.3757
- R. Harris et al., "Compound Josephson-junction coupler for flux qubits with minimal crosstalk," Phys. Rev. B 80, 052506 (2009); preprint available: arXiv:0904.3784
- R. Harris et al., "Experimental demonstration of a robust and scalable flux qubit," Phys. Rev. B 81, 134510 (2010); preprint available: arXiv:0909.4321
- Next Big Future: Robust and Scalable Flux Qubit, , September 23, 2009
- Next Big Future: Dwave Systems Adiabatic Quantum Computer , October 23, 2009
- "D-Wave Systems at the Way Back Machine". 2002-11-23. Archived from the original on 2002-11-23. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
- "D-Wave Systems at the Way Back Machine". 2005-03-24. Archived from the original on 2005-03-24. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
- Kaminsky; William M. Kaminsky and Seth Lloyd (2002-11-23). "Scalable Architecture for Adiabatic Quantum Computing of NP-Hard Problems". Quantum Computing & Quantum Bits in Mesoscopic Systems (Kluwer Academic (PDFarXiv:quant-ph/0211152.).
- Meglicki, Zdzislaw (2008). Quantum Computing Without Magic: Devices. MIT Press. pp. 390–391. ISBN 0-262-13506-X.
- "Yeah but how fast is it? Part 3. OR some thoughts about adiabatic QC". 2006-08-27. Archived from the original on 2006-11-19. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- "Learning to program the D-Wave One". Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "First Ever Commercial Quantum Computer Now Available for $10 Million". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- Scott Aaronson (16 May 2013). "D-Wave: Truth finally starts to emerge".
- Quantum annealing with more than one hundred qubits. Cornell University Library. 16 April 2013.
- "Lockheed Martin Signs Contract with D-Wave Systems".Retrieved 2011-05-25
- D-Wave quantum computer solves protein folding problem : Nature News Blog
- D-Wave uses quantum method to solve protein folding problem
- D-Wave Defies World of Critics With 'First Quantum Cloud' | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
- The black box that could change the world - The Globe and Mail
- Aron, Jacob (10 May 2013). "Commercial quantum computer leaves PC in the dust". New Scientist. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- McGeoch, Catherine; Wang, Cong. "Experimental Evaluation of an Adiabatic Quantum System for Combinatorial Optimization".
- Aron, Jacob (8 March 2013). "Controversial quantum computer aces entanglement tests". New Scientist. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Hardy, Quentin (16). "Google Buys a Quantum Computer". Bits. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "D-Wave: comment on comparison with classical computers". 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
- "Shtetl-Optimized: D-Wave Easter Spectacular". 2007-04-07. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- "Quantum computing: In the 'death zone'?". 2007-04-07. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
- Quantum annealing with manufactured spins Nature 473, 194–198, 12 May 2011
- The CIA and Jeff Bezos Bet on Quantum Computing Technology Review October 4, 2012 by Tom Simonite
- My visit to D-wave: Beyond the Roast Beef Sandwich 21 February 2012
- "Shtetl-Optimized: The Orion Quantum Computer Anti-Hype FAQ". 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- Quantum-Effect-Demonstrating Beef May 25 2011
- "Shtetl-Optimized: Thanksgiving Special: D-Wave at MIT". 2007-11-22. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- "In Defence of D-Wave".
- "Faculty | Dr Jacob Biamonte | Physics | University of Oxford". qubit.org. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- "Department staff | Dr Alexandre Zagoskin | Physics | Loughborough University". Lboro.ac.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
- Official website
- Announcement of the 16-qubit quantum computer demonstration
- Google Tech Talks: Quantum Computing Day 2: Image Recognition with an Adiabatic Quantum Computer
- Theoretical performance of a D-Wave processor: Investigating the Performance of an Adiabatic Quantum Optimization Processor
- Quantum Annealing and Computation: A Brief Documentary Note, A. Ghosh and S. Mukherjee