Understanding the applications of quantum computing
SUMMARY:Advances in quantum computing can have countless applications from drug discovery to investment and health care. Lockheed Martin’s collaborations with the University of Southern California and D-Wave Systems continue to push science and technology boundaries, recently quadrupling qubit capacity in the D-Wave Two machine.
There are a few defining moments of innovation that we can point to that changed the future. Quantum computing may be that next big moment.
“Computationally, quantum computing is the equivalent of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk,” said Greg Tallant, the program manager at Lockheed Martin.
Nearly everything around us, from cars and airplanes to smartphones and watches, has software. Debugging millions of lines of code for these increasingly complex systems is a big data problem that could cost big bucks.
“With quantum computing it’s not that we can solve problems that we cannot solve classically, it’s just that we can solve things faster,” said Daniel Lidar, the Scientific and Technical director at the University of Southern California Lockheed Martin Quantum Computation Center (QCC).
Unlike regular computers, quantum computers can simultaneously test all possible input combinations because they are not limited to just zeroes and ones (i.e., bits). Quantum bits, or qubits, can be both zero and one and all points in between, all at once.
A joint effort of Lockheed Martin Corporation and USC, the QCC recently upgraded to the D-Wave Two quantum computer designed with 512 qubits, increased from 128 in the original D-Wave One, both built by D-Wave Systems. The D-Wave Two is the largest programmable quantum information processor built.
“The QCC is a perfect example of industry and science coming together to advance our knowledge and quantum capabilities, pushing the boundaries of information science and technology,” said Bo Ewald, President of D-Wave Systems U.S.