Quantum Computing Firm to Expand Military Business with Washington DC Subsidiary

By | Oct 18, 2016 11:24 PM EDT

D-Wave quantum computer system. (Photo : D-Wave)

D-Wave Systems, Inc., the first company in the world to sell quantum computers, will open a subsidiary in Washington D.C. to locate closer to the U.S. government, the largest buyer of computers on Earth.

The government focused subsidiary will be named, D-Wave Government, Inc.

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The federal government, especially the Pentagon and the Department of Defense (DoD), is the main market for D-Wave's quantum computers. D-Wave has so far sold systems to three major U.S. customers: Lockheed Martin, Google and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Other customers such as the U.S. Navy are renting time on D-Wave owned computers.        

Based in British Columbia in Canada, D-Wave is the only company in the world currently offering a functioning quantum computer.

In 2011, D-Wave announced D-Wave One, which it claimed was "the world's first commercially available quantum computer." It launched a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab based on the D-Wave Two 512-qubit quantum computer used for research into machine learning.

In August 2015, D-Wave announced the general availability of the D-Wave 2X system, a 1000+ qubit quantum computer. In September, D-Wave said it had installed this system at the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at NASA Ames Research Center.

D-Wave president Bo Ewald said his company wants to make the most of the U.S. government's interest in quantum computing and that opening a government-focused subsidiary was part of this plan.

"The U.S. government is the largest procurer of computers on the planet," said Ewald.

"They also are the ones who typically apply technologies before others do for programmatic needs, whether it be the Pentagon programs or Department of Energy or the intelligence community."

He noted that while he doesn't have an exact dollar figure for the potential business with the federal government and the military, "I can imagine that as this business really gets rolling that there will be several of these big systems within the DoD, the DoE labs, the intelligence community networks."

"Whether they lease them, purchase them or are using a cloud service, it's too early to tell yet."

Ewald said D-Wave's systems are mostly used for research and experimentation by its Pentagon customers. That includes serious work going on with various DoD research labs and the Navy's Space and Naval Systems Warfare Command. 

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