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QUANTUM LEAP IN JUSTIN TRUDEAU's POPULARITY


JUSTIN TRUDEAU NERDS OUT QUANTUM LEAP THEORY
OTTAWA  He has impressed world leaders, has a growing army of fans - many female - and is even credited with driving up tourism to Canada. But photogenic Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now displayed another gift even few of his most ardent supporters knew he had: a more than passable knowledge of quantum computing. The Internet was abuzz with gushing praise for the 44-year-old Trudeau after a journalist jokingly asked him on Friday to explain quantum computing while he was on a visit to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. Instead of looking puzzled and joining in with the joke, Mr Trudeau set about giving a detailed answer that had experts at the Perimeter Institute nodding approvingly and that brought the packed audience to its feet. "Don't interrupt me," he said mischievously, a grin forming on his face, before launching seamlessly into his explanation, which was punctuated by giggles from the admiring audience and culminated in cheers and applause. "A regular computer bit is either a one or a zero, either on or off. A quantum state can be much more complex than that because, as we know, things can be both particle and wave at the same time, and the uncertainty around quantum states allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer. So that's what's exciting about quantum computing," he said as the crowd erupted into applause. "Don't get me going on this or we'll be here all day, trust me," the Liberal leader concluded, to more laughs. READ MORE...

ALSO: Man of Your Dreams Justin Trudeau Casually Drops Quantum Computing Lecture to Media
[The beloved Canadian PM was well prepared for a challenge to his computing know-how.]


Man of Your Dreams Justin Trudeau Casually Drops Quantum Computing Lecture in Press Conference | Vanity Fair With our own ruggedly handsome President now preparing to hand over the reins of power to one of a handful of possible successors a good-looking-politician vacuum threatened to form. Fortunately, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was appointed just in time to provide political observers with a new name to dreamily doodle in the margins of their marble composition notebooks. He’s the complete package: handsome but approachable-looking, an avowed feminist, skilled in yoga and boxing, and most importantly, he’s never sexually violated the carcass of a pig. And America’s new dream man from our neighbor to the north just got even better, as he revealed yesterday during a press conference that he’s also a major whiz when it comes to quantum computing. Yesterday, Trudeau visited the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario to attend a conference designed to encourage young women to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated STEM fields. Science fan he may be, Trudeau had come with a specific purpose yesterday — to announce a new $50 million infusion of federal funding for STEM programs, because Canada sounds like a lovely place to live. He took the microphone to say his piece and field a few questions when one reporter posed a facetious challenge to Trudeau’s computing know-how, joking, “I was gonna ask you to explain quantum computing, but...” before launching into his policy query. Trudeau, however, was ready to throw down at a moment’s notice, jumping right in with “Okay, very simply, normal computers work by...” before laughter from the crowd interrupted him. He couldn’t help but push forward and insist on sharing his passion for computing with the assembled press, saying, “No, no, no don’t interrupt me. When you walk out of here, you will know more!” READ MORE...

ALSO: A quantum leap in computer processors? Beyond Silicon...


Scientific Computing World: December 2015/January 2016 
Adrian Giordani reports on progress in quantum computing and carbon nanotubes, but finds their commercial application still lies some way in the future
The fastest supercomputers are built with the fastest microprocessor chips, which in turn are built upon the fastest switching technology. But, even the best semiconductors are reaching their limits as more is demanded of them. In the closing months of this year, came news of several developments that could break through silicon’s performance barrier and herald an age of smaller, faster, lower-power chips. It is possible that they could be commercially viable in the next few years. In December, Google and Nasa announced that for problems involving nearly 1,000 binary variables, ‘quantum annealing’ significantly outperforms a classical computer – more than 108 times faster than simulated annealing running on a single core computer. The researchers think they’ve found a quantum algorithm that solves certain problems 100 million times faster than conventional processes on a PC. In the journal Science, published in October, IBM researchers announced they had made the first carbon nanotube transistors that don’t suffer from reduced performance when made reduced in size, thus making the scaling down of chips easier. Another team published in Nature that they had created a quantum logic gate in silicon for the first time, making calculations between two quantum bits of information possible, and a silicon-based quantum computer an achievable reality. Both results represent milestone scientific achievements and are highly complementary, said Möttönen Mikko, leader of quantum computing and the devices lab at Aalto University, Finland, and professor in quantum computing at the University of Jyväskylä. Mikko was not involved in either research project, and so is in a position to be an impartial commentator. Beyond silicon? In the search for speedier processors, material scientists are looking for ways to improve upon Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology. Silicon-based chip performance will eventually bottleneck, in part due to overheating, as they are shrunk to their physical limits. With the best of today’s technology, a 100 Petaflop machine that runs at 30 per cent computational efficiency would have the same compute power, but about one tenth the energy cost of a proposed Exascale machine, as reported in The new realism: software runs slowly on supercomputers (SCW August/September 2015 page 20). READ MORE...

ALSO: EXPERT COMMENTARY - A Market Ready to Explode


.S. Quantum computing is poised to usher in a new era in computing by allowing access to unprecedented speed and new problem solving capabilities. The Cipher Brief spoke to Robert Ewald, President of D-Wave U.S. – the only company currently selling functional quantum computers. He said that the quantum computing market is ready to explode, and that it can change how we approach everything from bioinformatics to finance.
The Cipher Brief: Quantum computing may be a new concept to some of our readers, could you briefly describe how a quantum computer differs from a conventional computer? Robert Ewald: Conventional computers, which are made of billions of transistors, perform arithmetic and logical operations on numbers, characters, and other symbols. Their power comes from the immense speed at which they are able to do this, conducting billions of operations per second. The data for conventional computers are comprised of a collection of bits, each bit being either a 0 or a 1. Quantum computing is radically different. A quantum computer exploits quantum mechanics, the laws of physics that govern all particles in the universe, to solve problems in an entirely different way. There are potentially several different ways to implement a quantum computer, though only one exists in production today – the D-Wave quantum computer is called a quantum annealer, and you can think of it as finding the lowest valley or valleys in a mountainous energy landscape each time it executes an instruction. To do this, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which can be 0, 1, or both 0 and 1 simultaneously. All quantum computers are expected to use quantum mechanical properties to carry out their calculation – superposition, entanglement, and probably quantum tunneling. Because of these unique properties, quantum computers can attack problems with huge solutions spaces (like more than all the particles in the universe) to address previously unsolvable problems. It’s necessary that the environment of the computer system be able to support these quantum mechanical properties. Today, that requires an extreme environment: the processor must be cooled to just above absolute zero in temperature (about -460 degrees F, or 180 times colder than interstellar space) and be kept in a deep vacuum so it’s isolated from the earth's magnetic fields and other interference. At that temperature the circuits become superconducting, so they use virtually no power, whereas today's supercomputers can use megawatts of power. The way in which we build such devices is also different, requiring some different materials, new design rules, and new processor architectures. Finally, the way we program quantum systems is entirely different from conventional computers. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Quantum leap in Trudeau's popularity


JUSTIN TRUDEAU NERDS OUT QUANTUM LEAP THEORY

OTTAWA,, ON CANADA, APRIL 25, 2016 (STRAITTIMES.COM) PUBLISHED APR 18, 2016 -  He has impressed world leaders, has a growing army of fans - many female - and is even credited with driving up tourism to Canada.

But photogenic Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now displayed another gift even few of his most ardent supporters knew he had: a more than passable knowledge of quantum computing.

The Internet was abuzz with gushing praise for the 44-year-old Trudeau after a journalist jokingly asked him on Friday to explain quantum computing while he was on a visit to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario.

Instead of looking puzzled and joining in with the joke, Mr Trudeau set about giving a detailed answer that had experts at the Perimeter Institute nodding approvingly and that brought the packed audience to its feet.

"Don't interrupt me," he said mischievously, a grin forming on his face, before launching seamlessly into his explanation, which was punctuated by giggles from the admiring audience and culminated in cheers and applause.

"A regular computer bit is either a one or a zero, either on or off. A quantum state can be much more complex than that because, as we know, things can be both particle and wave at the same time, and the uncertainty around quantum states allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer. So that's what's exciting about quantum computing," he said as the crowd erupted into applause.

"Don't get me going on this or we'll be here all day, trust me," the Liberal leader concluded, to more laughs.

READ MORE...

Twitter lathered itself into a froth as footage of Mr Trudeau's answer went viral.

"I love Justin Trudeau. I wanna be Canadian," one user tweeted, while another wrote: "Hope I'm not falling into a mania... but Trudeau explaining quantum computing is pretty great."

Mr Trudeau had earlier affirmed C$50 million (S$53 million) in funding over five years to "strengthen the Perimeter Institute's position as a world-leading research centre in helping advance Canada's role as a leader in the global scientific community" focusing on theoretical physics.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2016, with the headline 'Quantum leap in Trudeau's popularity'. Print Edition | Subscribe

 


VANITY FAIR ONLINE

Man of Your Dreams Justin Trudeau Casually Drops Quantum Computing Lecture in Press Conference BY CHARLES BRAMESCO

The beloved Canadian PM was well prepared for a challenge to his computing know-how.


Man of Your Dreams Justin Trudeau Casually Drops Quantum Computing Lecture in Press Conference | Vanity Fair

With our own ruggedly handsome President now preparing to hand over the reins of power to one of a handful of possible successors a good-looking-politician vacuum threatened to form. Fortunately, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was appointed just in time to provide political observers with a new name to dreamily doodle in the margins of their marble composition notebooks. He’s the complete package: handsome but approachable-looking, an avowed feminist, skilled in yoga and boxing, and most importantly, he’s never sexually violated the carcass of a pig.

And America’s new dream man from our neighbor to the north just got even better, as he revealed yesterday during a press conference that he’s also a major whiz when it comes to quantum computing.

Yesterday, Trudeau visited the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario to attend a conference designed to encourage young women to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated STEM fields. Science fan he may be, Trudeau had come with a specific purpose yesterday — to announce a new $50 million infusion of federal funding for STEM programs, because Canada sounds like a lovely place to live.

He took the microphone to say his piece and field a few questions when one reporter posed a facetious challenge to Trudeau’s computing know-how, joking, “I was gonna ask you to explain quantum computing, but...” before launching into his policy query.

Trudeau, however, was ready to throw down at a moment’s notice, jumping right in with “Okay, very simply, normal computers work by...” before laughter from the crowd interrupted him. He couldn’t help but push forward and insist on sharing his passion for computing with the assembled press, saying, “No, no, no don’t interrupt me. When you walk out of here, you will know more!”

READ MORE...

Like the kinda-hot-in-a-dad-way high school physics teacher that all the students wanted to impress, he delivered an easily processed explanation of what, exactly, quantum computing is:

Normal computers work, either there’s one power going through a wire or not. It’s one or a zero, they’re binary systems. What quantum states allow for is much more complex information to be encoded into a single bit. Regular computer bit is either a one or a zero, on or off.

A quantum state could be much more complex than that, because, as we know, things could be both particle and wave at the same time, and the uncertainty around quantum states allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer. So that’s what’s exciting about quantum computing.

Trudeau then did the thing everyone does after geeking out about an obscure topic, and lightly self-effaced by joking, “Don’t get me going on this, we’ll be here all day.” Powerful, good to bring home to Mom and Dad, and he has a functional knowledge of how computers work? Is America completely sure that we can’t elect this guy, too?

Charles Bramesco is a writer living in New York. In addition to Vanity Fair, his byline has appeared at The Guardian, Newsweek, Forbes, The A.V. Club, Vox, Vulture, and the Dissolve.


http://www.scientific-computing.com/

A quantum leap in processors?

Adrian Giordani reports on progress in quantum computing and carbon nanotubes, but finds their commercial application still lies some way in the future


Scientific Computing World: December 2015/January 2016

The fastest supercomputers are built with the fastest microprocessor chips, which in turn are built upon the fastest switching technology. But, even the best semiconductors are reaching their limits as more is demanded of them. In the closing months of this year, came news of several developments that could break through silicon’s performance barrier and herald an age of smaller, faster, lower-power chips. It is possible that they could be commercially viable in the next few years.

In December, Google and Nasa announced that for problems involving nearly 1,000 binary variables, ‘quantum annealing’ significantly outperforms a classical computer – more than 108 times faster than simulated annealing running on a single core computer. The researchers think they’ve found a quantum algorithm that solves certain problems 100 million times faster than conventional processes on a PC.

In the journal Science, published in October, IBM researchers announced they had made the first carbon nanotube transistors that don’t suffer from reduced performance when made reduced in size, thus making the scaling down of chips easier. Another team published in Nature that they had created a quantum logic gate in silicon for the first time, making calculations between two quantum bits of information possible, and a silicon-based quantum computer an achievable reality.

Both results represent milestone scientific achievements and are highly complementary, said Möttönen Mikko, leader of quantum computing and the devices lab at Aalto University, Finland, and professor in quantum computing at the University of Jyväskylä. Mikko was not involved in either research project, and so is in a position to be an impartial commentator.

Beyond silicon?

In the search for speedier processors, material scientists are looking for ways to improve upon Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology. Silicon-based chip performance will eventually bottleneck, in part due to overheating, as they are shrunk to their physical limits.

With the best of today’s technology, a 100 Petaflop machine that runs at 30 per cent computational efficiency would have the same compute power, but about one tenth the energy cost of a proposed Exascale machine, as reported in The new realism: software runs slowly on supercomputers (SCW August/September 2015 page 20).

READ MORE...

In July 2015, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order, to encourage faster development of the first Exaflop supercomputer, called the National Strategic Computing Initiative. But without innovation, the power requirements of the first Exascale supercomputer – to find new medicines or solve climate change simulations – become astronomical both in cost and real terms.

Today the most efficient system needs about one to two Megawatts per Petaflop. One estimate has an Exascale computer sucking up 40 Megawatts – enough power for a small town of 50,000 people.

Commercial enterprises are investing a lot in innovation. IBM Research in the US plans to replace traditional silicon by investing $3 billion in chip R&D technologies, which includes carbon nanotubes. These are single atomic sheets of carbon rolled up into a tube. Electrons in carbon transistors can move better than in silicon.

Carbon nanotubes

This October, a team of IBM scientists created a new way to shrink transistor ‘contacts’ of carbon nanotube devices, without reducing performance. This was done with a microscopic welding technique that chemically binds metal atoms to the carbon atoms at the ends of nanotubes.

With this, contact resistance challenges could be overcome down to a 1.8 nanometre node. This means carbon nanotube-based semiconductors will result in smaller chips with greater performance and lower power consumption.

Contacts inside a chip are valves that control the flow of electrons from metal into the semiconductor’s channels. As transistors shrink, electrical resistance increases within the contacts, impeding performance. Some estimates are that the performance of carbon nanotubes will be five to 10 times better than silicon circuits.

But the death of silicon has been predicted many times in the past. Gallium arsenide, for example, was once touted as a better replacement. But silicon is abundant and cheap to process. In addition, a silicon crystal has a very stable structure, can be grown to very large diameter boules and processed with very good yields. It is also a fairly good thermal conductor, thus enabling very dense packing of transistors that need to get rid of their heat of operation. Finally, there is a vast amount of production plants already installed and dedicated to making processors out of silicon, yielding huge economies of scale to the silicon industry. ‘For this new technology to become commercially viable, it has to beat the current transistor, the development of which has been given decades and billions – if not trillions – of euros,’ said Mikko.

Quantum computing

So, instead of some exotic material such as carbon nanotubes, an alternative path could be radical innovation in silicon technology. In Australia, researchers have created the first two-quantum bit (qubit) logic gate within silicon, which may unlock scalable quantum computers sooner.

Principal investigator professor Andrew Dzurak, based at the University of New South Wales in Australia (UNSW), and his team found that qubits were able to influence each other directly, as a logic gate, when performing calculations using the mechanics of subatomic particles.

Like a compass, the magnetic field of an electron dictates the binary code of ‘0’ or ‘1’. In a quantum system, particles can exist in two states simultaneously too – a superposition. A two-qubit system can perform simultaneous operations on four values, and a three-qubit system on eight values, etc.

The team morphed their silicon transistors into quantum bits by ensuring that each one had only one electron associated with it. Then they stored the binary code on the spin of the electron.

‘These two research directions have rather different strategies,’ said Benjamin Huard a CNRS researcher heading the quantum electronics group at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris, France. Huard, too, is in a position to act as impartial commentator. ‘The UNSW team… shows that spins in silicon constitute promising candidates. Comparatively, the IBM discovery is more incremental, since it can readily be applied to usual computers if the technology is pushed to its limits.’

Time for development

However, it may take at least a decade before a commercial qubit chip could be ready, even if all goes well. ‘We are aiming to have a prototype chip that demonstrates the manufacturing pathway ready in five years. I think it will be very challenging to have a commercially available processor chip ready within 10 years,’ said Dzurak. The Australian team has just patented its design for a full-scale quantum computer chip of millions of qubits. The engineering programme to scale this technology from chip to a supercomputer-scale system has just begun. ‘If we could do it in less than 15 years, I’d be a very happy man. I think most experts in the field would agree with my assessment,’ said Dzurak.

Back in 1998, researcher Bruce Kane first proposed the idea of a silicon-based quantum computer in a Nature paper. In theory, a quantum computer with just 300 quantum qubits could hold 2 to the power of 300 values simultaneously – which is around the number of atoms in the known universe – performing an incredible quantity of calculations at once.

In reality, qubits are prone to errors; you need lots of extra bits or ‘ancilla’ bits, which have a secondary error-correction role in a logic circuit. The actual number of physical qubits for equivalent and, most importantly, accurate computational power could add up to millions when scaled up to silicon semiconductor technology.

IBM scientists recently made a new type of chip that for the first time was able to detect and measure both kinds of quantum errors – bit-flip and phase-flip – simultaneously.

‘There are other qubits in the lattice that serve as the data or code qubits, and hold the quantum information. These data or code qubits get checked by the ancillas,’ said Jerry Chow, manager of IBM Research’s Experimental Quantum Computing Group.

Quantum decoherence are errors in calculations caused by interference from many factors. These errors are especially acute in quantum machines.

‘We do believe we have a promising path forward for scalability... Systems of 50-100 qubits we expect to be possible within the next five years,’ said Chow.

Commercial quantum computers

To date, the Canada-based D-Wave system is the only commercially available quantum computer of its type on the market. In 2011 a D-Wave quantum computer was sold to the company Lockheed Martin, and in 2013 a 500-qubit D-Wave Two system was installed at Nasa Ames, where researchers from Google, Nasa, and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) have been using it to explore the potential for quantum computing. This year, the US Los Alamos National Laboratory purchased one.

The computer’s processors use a particular process called quantum annealing to exploit quantum mechanical effects, such as tunnelling and entanglement. In December, research by the team at Nasa Ames showed that quantum annealing significantly outperformed a classical computer for problems involving nearly 1,000 variables. The team thinks it’s found a quantum algorithm that solves certain problems 100 million times faster than conventional processes on a PC.

Despite this progress, doubts remain. ‘I do not rule out a quantum-annealing design, but it is not clear if such a technology will really scale in the way it needs to, in order to overtake conventional processors,’ said Dzurak.

Although technically impressive, the D-Wave is not faster than classical computers. ‘It is not clear if the current D-Wave computers are truly quantum computers. There is no evidence that they are faster than classical computers,’ said Dr Menno Veldhorst, a UNSW research fellow and lead author of the two-qubit paper.

Future developments include chips directly interfacing with other components using light, rather than electrical signals. ‘One problem with photon-based quantum computers (QCs) is that there are a lot of overheads to make the chip function,’ said Dzurak. ‘I wouldn’t rule it out. There is a lot of interesting work on photonic-based QCs. If I had to place a bet, I would say the first commercial system will either be a silicon-based QC or a superconductor-based QC.’

Quantum dots

Veldhorst also thinks large-scale architectures will likely come from silicon-based quantum-dot qubits and superconducting qubits – something Professor John Martinis’ research group at the University of California Santa Barbara and Google is currently working on.

A quantum dot breakthrough was recently achieved by a team of physicists at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Stanford University in the US. They produced a system of a single electron trapped in a semiconductor nanostructure, with the electron’s spin used as the data carrier.

The team found data-loss problems caused by strains in the semiconductor material, but these were solved when an external magnetic field with the strength of a strong permanent magnet was applied. This system of quantum dots (nanometre-scale hills) was made of semiconductor materials that are compatible with standard manufacturing processes. ‘A large-scale quantum computer will take another decade or two,’ said Veldhorst.


THE CIPHER BRIEF

EXPERT COMMENTARY A Market Ready to Explode FEBRUARY 28, 2016 | ROBERT EWALD


BY ROBERT EWALD PRESIDENT, D-WAVE

U.S. Quantum computing is poised to usher in a new era in computing by allowing access to unprecedented speed and new problem solving capabilities. The Cipher Brief spoke to Robert Ewald, President of D-Wave U.S. – the only company currently selling functional quantum computers. He said that the quantum computing market is ready to explode, and that it can change how we approach everything from bioinformatics to finance.

The Cipher Brief: Quantum computing may be a new concept to some of our readers, could you briefly describe how a quantum computer differs from a conventional computer?

Robert Ewald: Conventional computers, which are made of billions of transistors, perform arithmetic and logical operations on numbers, characters, and other symbols. Their power comes from the immense speed at which they are able to do this, conducting billions of operations per second. The data for conventional computers are comprised of a collection of bits, each bit being either a 0 or a 1.

Quantum computing is radically different. A quantum computer exploits quantum mechanics, the laws of physics that govern all particles in the universe, to solve problems in an entirely different way. There are potentially several different ways to implement a quantum computer, though only one exists in production today – the D-Wave quantum computer is called a quantum annealer, and you can think of it as finding the lowest valley or valleys in a mountainous energy landscape each time it executes an instruction.

To do this, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which can be 0, 1, or both 0 and 1 simultaneously. All quantum computers are expected to use quantum mechanical properties to carry out their calculation – superposition, entanglement, and probably quantum tunneling. Because of these unique properties, quantum computers can attack problems with huge solutions spaces (like more than all the particles in the universe) to address previously unsolvable problems.

It’s necessary that the environment of the computer system be able to support these quantum mechanical properties. Today, that requires an extreme environment: the processor must be cooled to just above absolute zero in temperature (about -460 degrees F, or 180 times colder than interstellar space) and be kept in a deep vacuum so it’s isolated from the earth's magnetic fields and other interference.

At that temperature the circuits become superconducting, so they use virtually no power, whereas today's supercomputers can use megawatts of power. The way in which we build such devices is also different, requiring some different materials, new design rules, and new processor architectures. Finally, the way we program quantum systems is entirely different from conventional computers.

READ MORE...

TCB: What kinds of problems are quantum computers good at solving? What types of industries could benefit from the use of quantum computing, and how could they do so?

RE: The D-Wave computer is best suited for complex optimization problems, machine learning, and sampling – all of which exist in many different domains, such as mission planning, pattern recognition and anomaly detection, cancer research, and finance.

We're working with leading government labs and private enterprise to develop algorithms and tools for their specific needs. Lockheed Martin is focused on how the quantum computer can address software verification and validation of aircraft control systems. NASA ‘s Ames Research Center is using D-Wave’s system to help search for new planets that might harbor life outside our solar system. Google is exploring machine learning with a goal of building more accurate models for everything from speech recognition, to web search, to bioinformatics. Los Alamos National Laboratory has a wide range of research topics in a variety of scientific and optimization areas.

Quantum computing could lead us to explore how materials behave, how new materials might be created, superior image recognition, more accurate financial forecasting, and precise genome mapping. We have great leading customers in different industries who are pioneering new applications which are the first ever to actually run on a quantum computer.

TCB: How do you see the market for quantum computing changing over the next 10 years? What factors are most critical to the continued growth of the industry, and what challenges still need to be overcome?

RE: Quantum computing is in its infancy – there is a lot of research going on, but only one commercial quantum computer company working with a handful of customers. I think that over the next 10 years, the quantum computing market is going to explode! We are going to see businesses, universities and government move forward in unprecedented ways to solve problems that are too complex for today’s computational systems. One of the most crucial factors for the continued growth of the quantum computing industry is accessibility – we need to get more researchers using our computers to further develop algorithms and applications. As we expand access to our systems, it’s critical that we hone our software tools so the emerging applications can more easily map onto the machines and make them easier to use.

We’re at a watershed moment – basically where traditional computing was for IBM in 1955. At that point, there were no compilers and minimal applications, and they were switching over to transistors and core memory. The compiler wasn’t introduced until 1957, and IBM, its customers and partners developed the software dramatically over the next 60 years to where we are today. As we drive research, experimentation, and algorithm development on our own machines, we expect that the hardware and software will improve more rapidly, because we will be able to borrow some techniques from conventional computing.

TCB: The government had an essential part in the development of conventional computers. How might the government benefit from quantum computing, and what is its role in supporting the development of quantum computers?

RE: The National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), created by executive order of President Barack Obama last July, is intended "to maximize [the] benefits of high-performance computing (HPC) research, development, and deployment." Quantum computing development and commercialization is directly in line with the goals of this initiative. This work is especially imperative to government agencies that are exploring alternatives to conventional computing as Moore’s Law and data centers are reaching their limits. They’ve seen that there are problems traditional computers simply can’t solve no matter how many transistors you add or supercomputers you connect. In light of this reality, quantum computing represents the next era of computing, and this initiative is proof of the government’s interest in supporting innovation across several frontiers of high-performance computing.

Last year, Los Alamos National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, acquired a 1000+ qubit D-Wave 2X system as part of the NCSI. D-Wave is already working jointly with scientists and engineers at the laboratory to advance the state of algorithms, applications, and software tools for quantum computing. Today, the U.S. government is one of the strongest supporters of research and development for quantum computing.


ROBERT EWALD
PRESIDENT, D-WAVE U.S.
Robert "Bo" Ewald is the President of D-Wave U.S. and also heads up global customer operations. Ewald brings a long history with other pioneering technology organizations to D-Wave. He was at visualization and HPC leader SGI twice, most recently as CEO, and had a number of roles at supercomputing leader Cray Research including President, COO and CTO. Mr. Ewald has participated on many industry and government panels and committees, including being appointed by the White House to the President's Information Technology Advisory Council.


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