Research at the USC Quantum Computing Center focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of adiabatic quantum optimization, a powerful new paradigm for solving some of the toughest optimization problems while harnessing the power of quantum mechanics.

Of particular interest are problems that can be mapped into quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO), or finding the ground (lowest energy state) of the two-dimensional Ising spin model. Such problems include machine learning, image classification, software verification, anomaly detection, and neural networks. Of additional great interest is the development of error correction strategies tailored to adiabatic quantum optimization.

The QCC renewed its long-term relationship with D-Wave in March 2024. The QCC upgraded to D-Wave's Advantage™ system with more than 5000 qubits and increased connectivity after a 2020 renewal. The upgrades enabled the QCC to host a new Advantage generation of quantum annealers from D-Wave, as well as provide USC researchers with access to D-Wave’s Leap™ quantum cloud services.