Quantum Computing Provider Offers Free Resources to Coronavirus Researchers

Quantum computing company D-Wave Systems is giving researchers studying the coronavirus free access to its hardware quantum systems, the company announced.

Access is available now through D-Wave's Leap quantum cloud service to the company's the D-Wave 2000Q quantum computer.

Anyone developing responses to the pandemic gets immediate and unlimited commercial-contract-level access to Leap 2, the company says. The latest version of the company's quantum cloud service includes the hybrid solver service, which is designed to combine classical and quantum resources to solve highly complex problems with up to 10,000 connected variables. It also includes access to the company's online IDE, community discussion forums and learning materials.

A long list of the Canadian company's partners and customers will also be providing engineering expertise and other resources to those researchers on how to use the quantum computer to formulate problems and develop solutions. That list includes: CINECA, DENSO, Forschungszentrum J├╝lich, Kyocera Corporation, KYOCERA Communication Systems, MDR/Cliffhanger, Menten AI, NEC Solution Innovators Ltd., OTI Lumionics, QAR Lab at LMU Munich, Sigma-i, Tohoku University and Volkswagen.

"We're living through an unprecedented crisis affecting nearly every industry and population," said D-Wave CEO Alan Baratz in a statement. "Deftly responding to this pandemic requires creativity and new approaches to solving problems. We believe that by combining our customers' and partners' expertise with hybrid quantum computing, we can together bring a potentially powerful resource to the individuals, organizations, and
governments around the world building solutions nimbly and collaboratively."

Researchers can use D-Wave's quantum-computing system to speed up some of the calculations related to drug discovery and hospital logistics, Baratz said. Japanese startup Sigma-i, for example, is using the system to build an optimization formulation for planning which hospitals to send COVID-19 patients "so as to prevent medical collapse." The system is almost completed, the company said.

D-Wave and its partners and customers have "significant quantum computing expertise," Baratz added. "We want to expand the computational capabilities available to experts across disciplines, verticals, and geographies and bring the community's deep quantum knowledge to bear on the complex and dynamic COVID-19 situation," he said.

Gartner defines quantum computing as a type of "nonclassical" computing that operates on the quantum state of subatomic particles. The particles represent information as qubits. In classical computing, bits represent information as either 0s or 1s; qubits represent both at the same time until they are read, thanks to a quantum state called superposition. Qubits can be linked with other qubits, thanks to another quantum property called entanglement. As Gartner explains it, "Quantum algorithms manipulate linked qubits in their undetermined, entangled state, a process that can address problems with vast combinatorial complexity."

D-Wave bills itself as "a different kind of quantum hardware" company, because its systems use both classical and quantum hardware. With the launch of Leap 2, the company also unveiled a new IDE, a pre-configured tool for building the software to run on the platform that includes company's latest Ocean SDK and tools.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at