Murray Thom, director of software and cloud services at D-Wave Systems, The Quantum Computing Company (dwavesys.com), delivers a thorough overview of quantum computing and its many uses.
Thom is a seasoned professional in the technology and computing arena. He is heavily involved in multiple areas that are key to D-Wave’s operations, and success. Thom plays an instrumental role in the R&D at D-Wave, including design and manufacture of crucial components and elements. Additionally he provides important technical support to the sales team that relates to his in-depth knowledge of applications, algorithms, and more.
D-Wave Systems is the first quantum computing company and they are continually striving to make rapid advancements in the computing space. Notably, D-Wave recently released its 1000+ qubit D-Wave 2X system. And the impressive system was installed at the NASA/Google Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin. The dramatic results from Google on the D-Wave 2X showed a 100,000,000 times speed increase over a traditional system for specific types of problems.
Thom talks about D-Wave’s mission: to unlock the power of quantum computers for real world solutions. He states that for nearly 20 years the company has been building quantum computers and servicing the clients, users, and developers who need them. Thom discusses some of their collaborative work with clients and customers over the past decade that has led to great advances and early applications for their quantum computing systems. He details some of their specific client projects, such as their work with Volkswagen on traffic flow optimization.
D-Wave’s quantum computer utilizes quantum dynamics to accelerate and create innovative methods for solving optimization, material science, sampling, and machine learning problems and issues. Through a process known as ‘quantum annealing’ it stimulates the tendency of real-world quantum systems to access new low-energy states. To consider optimization in terms of high and low points within a landscape, every coordinate represents a potential solution and the elevation represents its energy. And the optimum solution is the one with the lowest energy that corresponds to the lowest point across the landscape.
Thom outlines how quantum computers are different. A traditional computer stores information as ‘bits’ with assigned values of either 1 or 0. A quantum computer works with information that is preserved in quantum bits, known simply as qubits. And a qubit can hold a value of 1 or 0, essentially any quantum superposition of these two represented states. This is how quantum computers can process enormous volumes of information so easily. Quantum memory has incredibly impressive capacity. Though it seems small, it can store a tremendous amount of information, which enables users to search massive solution areas and find answers fast. Thom details D-Wave’s exciting project known as Leap, which is an environment for developers to literally build and operate their own specific quantum applications. Leap is cloud-based, and as such it provides real-time access to an operational quantum computer. Developers and researchers are provided the opportunity to work with open-source tools, and are given access to interactive demos, coding examples, and detailed information articles. Leap provides an open pathway to incredible collaboration within the active online community.
Thom cites specific examples of how quantum computing solutions impact advertising buys and budgets, and overall optimization, and the decision-making process of business leaders with respect to their advertising and marketing. From providing hotel recommendations to travelers, to optimization of workflow in factories, Thom discusses the numerous ways that quantum computing is changing how businesses operate.
Conventional systems are inept in many ways and quantum computing is stepping up to provide more advanced problem-solving assistance. Quantum computing provides the potential to solve many complex and extremely technical, scientific, defense, and commercial problems and Thom expects that it will deliver results in a myriad of industries and areas.