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Free quantum computing for COVID-19 studies

D-Wave Systems’ hardware makes hybrid quantum-classical applications available through its Leap cloud service. (D-Wave Systems Photo)

Burnaby, B.C.-based D-Wave Systems says it’s providing free access to its Leap hybrid quantum cloud service to anyone who’s working on responses to the coronavirus outbreak.

But wait … there’s more: D-Wave’s partners and customers are providing expertise to help researchers use quantum tools to study the virus and how to stop it.

The companies joining the quantum fray alongside D-Wave include Volkswagen, Kyocera, NEC Solution Innovators, Denso, Cineca, Forschungszentrum Jülich, MDR/Cliffhanger, Menten AI, OTI Lumionics, QAR Lab at LMU Munich, Sigma-i and Tohoku University.

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D-Wave launches Leap 2 quantum cloud service

D-Wave Leap 2 screenshot
D-Wave Systems is unveiling its Leap 2 quantum cloud computing service. (D-Wave Graphic)

What comes after a quantum leap? For Burnaby, B.C.-based D-Wave Systems, it’s Leap 2, the latest iteration of its cloud-based quantum computing service.

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Japan’s NEC to invest in D-Wave quantum venture

D-Wave computer
A team member at D-Wave Systems, based in Burnaby, B.C.,, works on the dilution refrigerator system that cools the processors in the company’s quantum computer. (D-Wave Systems Photo)

Burnaby, B.C.-based D-Wave Systems says it will collaborate with Japan’s NEC Corp. on hybrid services that combine quantum and classical computing, in a deal that includes a $10 million NEC investment in D-Wave.

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Quantum bits: Intel unveils cryogenic chip

Intel's new quantum chip
Stefano Pellerano, principal engineer at Intel Labs, holds the cryogenic control chip known as Horse Ridge. (Intel Photo / Walden Kirsch)

MicrosoftAmazon and Google aren’t the only companies making headway in quantum computing. Intel is showing off a new type of chip for processing qubits, D-Wave Systems is getting a new CEO, and IBM is gearing up for quantum-safe cryptography.

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Weapons lab likes D-Wave’s next quantum system

D-Wave computer
A team member at D-Wave Systems, based in Burnaby, B.C.,, works on the dilution refrigerator system that cools the processors in the company’s quantum computer. (D-Wave Systems Photo)

D-Wave Systems says its next-generation, 5,000-qubit quantum computing system will be called Advantage, to recognize the business advantage it hopes its customers will derive from the company’s products and services.

The Burnaby, B.C.-based company also announced that Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has signed a contract to upgrade to Advantage on its premises once it’s ready to go. Advantage-based computing is due to become available via D-Wave’s Leap quantum cloud service in mid-2020.

“This is the third time we will have upgraded our D-Wave system,” Irene Qualters, associate lab director for simulation and computation at Los Alamos, said today in a news release. “Each upgrade has enabled new research into developing quantum algorithms and new tools in support of Los Alamos’ national security mission.”

The lab’s national security mission includes keeping the nation’s nuclear weapons up to date — and checking their safety and potency using methods that include computer simulations.

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Quantum computer simulates superconductors

Quantum simulation
A 2,048-qubit D-Wave 2000Q processor, shown in the lower half of this image, was used to simulate the behavior of a quantum magnetic system depicted in the upper half. (D-Wave Systems Illustration)

One of the prime applications for quantum computers is to simulate natural quantum phenomena, and in a newly published study, researchers from Canada’s D-Wave Systems have demonstrated how to do it.

The phenomenon that they simulated involves a topological phase transition associated with thin-film superconductivity and superfluidity. It’s called the Kosterlitz-Thouless phase transition, and figuring out how the transition could be done earned Brown University’s Michael Kosterlitz and the University of Washington’s David Thouless shares of the 2016 Nobel Prize in physics.

Today Kosterlitz hailed the quantum computer simulation, which is described in a paper published by Nature.

“This paper represents a breakthrough in the simulation of physical systems which are otherwise essentially impossible,” Kosterlitz said in a D-Wave news release. “The test reproduces most of the expected results, which is a remarkable achievement.”

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