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Google And NASA's Quantum Computer Gets New Hardware

28 September 2015, 11:25 am EDT By Laura Rosenfeld Tech Times
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Google, NASA and the Universities Space Research Association seem to be beefing up their joint quantum computing project with some new hardware. D-Wave Systems, Inc. announced Monday that it has entered into a new multiyear agreement with Google and its partners to install a new set of D-Wave systems at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

D-Wave Systems unveiled the D-Wave 2X system in August, which has been installed and is now operational at NASA's Ames Research Center. It has more than 1,000 qubits, making it the most powerful computer of its kind, according to The Verge. The D-Wave 2X system also has an operating temperature below 15 millikelvin, which is near absolute zero and is 180 times colder than space, which is one of the reasons why quantum computers can be so difficult to work with.

The new agreement will give the quantum computing project, which is designed to study artificial intelligence and machine learning, a "state-of-the-art" D-Wave system for up to seven years with newer generations of the system to be installed as they become available in the future. Scientists have been using the previous generation of the 500+ qubit D-Wave Two system installed at NASA's Ames Research Center to study quantum computing's applications in areas ranging from web search to air-traffic control to sending robots to other planets since 2013.

"Working with the D-Wave processors has helped us develop and fine-tune models of quantum annealing," Hartmut Neven, the director of engineering for Google and the head of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, said in a statement. "We look forward to the continued advancements coming from each generation of D-Wave systems."

In addition to Google, a slew of other tech giants have also announced their own quantum computing efforts, including Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Alibaba.

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