The speeds of a smart phone, a laptop and a desktop, all pale in comparison to the potential speed of emerging quantum computing technology. Quantum computers can solve complex problems by exploring all possible solutions at once, rather than the previous standard of testing each solution individually. Potential applications for quantum computing include any area that deals with complex systems and masses of data, such as software development, financial risk analysis, or even the detection of patterns in genetic data, potentially leading to new treatments for diseases like cancer.
Lockheed Martin designs some of the most advanced and elaborate systems in the world. Roughly half the cost of creating such systems is on verification and validation. Verification and validation is work done to assure the quality and reliability of the system, including the elimination of errors from both the computing layers and physical layers of an integrated system.
When exploring approaches to reduce the time and cost for verification and validation, Lockheed Martin put together a consortium of Canadian universities led by Dalhousie University and a small company in British Columbia, D-Wave. At that time, D-wave was starting to be recognized for world-class work in the area of quantum computing.
Lockheed Martin began making investments in D-Wave, Dalhousie and its consortium partners at the University of British Columbia and Université de Sherbrooke. In late 2010, Lockheed Martin became D-Wave’s first customer, buying their D-Wave One system, the first commercial quantum computer in the world. In 2013, we purchased the D-Wave Two, a newer, higher-power model that uses more qubits. D-Wave is now a world-leader in quantum computing that counts NASA and Google among its customers.
A revolution in computing hardware always opens exciting new opportunities in the world of software. Lockheed Martin is also supporting the work of another group of innovative Canadian entrepreneurs, this time on the east coast, with significant investments in a new company called QRA, a spin out of the Dalhousie-led consortium. QRA will develop and market application software for the D-Wave computers to address the multi-billion dollar worldwide need for verification and validation software and services.
Quantum computing has potential to solve challenges ranging from designing new lifesaving drugs to instantaneously debugging millions of lines of software code.
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