A Quantum Leap in Computing

University of Southern California (01/03/12) Ambrosia Viramontes-Brody

The University of Southern California (USC) recently founded the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center, which houses the D-Wave One system. “We have been strong in quantum computing for years but this development really is a ‘quantum leap’ for us,” says USC professor Daniel Lidar. He says the D-Wave One system can solve problems such as machine learning automatic image recognition and software validation. Fifteen USC researchers in USC’s Center for Quantum Information and Science and Technology are working to better understand the questions that remain about quantum systems. Researchers will utilize the D-Wave system to develop methods to construct new quantum optimization algorithms, study the fundamental physics of entanglement, and lead experiments in adiabatic quantum computing. The researchers also will focus on managing decoherence, which can be a major problem for quantum systems. “It turns out this quantum weirdness is the extra ingredient that gives us computational speedups, compared to classical algorithms that are very fragile,” says USC’s Paolo Zanardi. Meanwhile, the development of optimization algorithms can help detect bugs in computer programs. “This technology is going to be a great testing ground for our theories and will enable us to develop our theories in new directions,” Zanardi says.

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