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Posts published in “quantum computing”

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D-Wave offers the first public access to a quantum computer

Outside the crop of construction cranes that now dot Vancouver’s bright, downtown greenways, in a suburban business park that reminds you more of dentists and tax preparers, is a small office building belonging to D-Wave. This office — squat, angular and sun-dappled one recent cool Autumn morning — is unique in that it contains an infinite collection of parallel universes. Founded in 1999 by Geordie Rose, D-Wave worked in relative obscurity on esoteric problems associated with quantum computing. When Rose was a PhD student at the University of British Columbia, he turned in an assignment that outlined a quantum computing company. His entrepreneurship teacher at the time, Haig Farris, found the young physicists ideas compelling enough to give him $1,000 to buy a computer and a printer to type up a business plan. The company consulted with academics until 2005, when Rose and his team decided to focus on building usable quantum computers. The result, the Orion, launched in 2007, and was used to classify drug molecules and play Sodoku. The business now sells computers for up to $10 million to clients like Google, Microsoft and Northrop Grumman. “We’ve been focused on making quantum computing practical since day one. In 2010 we started offering remote cloud access to customers and today, we have 100 early applications running on our computers (70 percent of which were built in the cloud),” said CEO Vern Brownell. “Through this work, our customers have told us it takes more than just access to real quantum hardware to benefit from quantum computing. In order to build a true quantum ecosystem, millions of developers need the access and tools to get started with quantum.” Now their computers are simulating weather patterns and tsunamis, optimizing hotel ad displays, solving complex network problems and, thanks to a new, open-source platform, could help you ride the quantum wave of computer programming. Inside the box When I went to visit D-Wave they gave us unprecedented access to the inside of one of their quantum machines. The computers, which are about the size of a garden shed, have a control unit on…

Rigetti announces its hybrid quantum computing platform — and a $1M prize

Rigetti, a quantum computing startup that is challenging the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Google in this nascent space, today at our TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 event announced the launch of its new hybrid quantum computing platform. While Rigetti already offered API access to its quantum computing platform, this new service, dubbed Quantum Cloud Services (QCS), offers a combination of a cloud-based classical computer, its Forest development platform and access to Rigetti’s quantum backends. Thanks to this, developers will be able to write and test their algorithms significantly faster than with the company’s previous approach. In addition to the new platform, which is now in private testing, Rigetti also announced a $1 million prize for the first team that manages to show quantum advantage on this hybrid platform. Quantum advantage, at least according to Rigetti’s definition, is the milestone where a quantum system will be able to solve a real problem that is beyond the reach of classical computers. The company plans to announce more details around this prize at the end of October. As Rigetti founder and CEO Chad Rigetti told me, the reason the hybrid approach is faster is simply because the two systems are closely integrated — and you will likely always need a classical computer in parallel with a quantum computer for solving virtually any problem. And the company expects that this hybrid approach — and likely the 128-qubit machine that Rigetti plans to launch next year — will allow for running an algorithm that demonstrates quantum advantage. The current API Rigetti makes available to developers features 8-qubit and 19-qubit machines. Those machines are nowhere near powerful enough to show quantum advantage, but they do give developers the ability to start experimenting with using quantum computers. On the old platform, Rigetti also noted, the kind of loops you need to run to use the quantum machine for machine learning, for example, had a latency on the order of a second or more. “A lot of these algorithms require thousands and tens of thousands of iterations,” Rigetti said. “And now we have reduced this down to the…

a16z Podcast: Beyond Zero-Sum Thinking in the Game of Tech… and Life

The rise of zero-sum thinking — which has come snapping back recently — slows and even halts progress, observes Marc Andreessen. Because you’re then dividing up a smaller piece, adds Ben Horowitz, instead of growing the pie altogether. This is …

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