USC Renews Quantum Computing Collaboration with D-Wave, Lockheed Martin

June 25, 2020

The USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center (QCC), hosted at USCs Information Sciences Institute (ISI) of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, renewed its long-term relationship with D-Wave and Lockheed Martin, leading to important upgrades at the facility.

QCC will upgrade to D-Wave's forthcoming Advantage™ system with more than 5000 qubits. The upgrades will enable QCC to host a new Advantage generation of quantum annealers from D-Wave, and will be the first Leap™ quantum cloud system in the United States.

Through QCC, USC has been a pioneering academic institution in the hosting and operating of a commercial quantum system. It remains the only university in the world in this position. "We are very pleased to continue our partnership with Lockheed Martin with the acquisition of the new generation of the D-Wave quantum system," said Yannis C. Yortsos, Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. "This significant upgrade will help our faculty further advance the frontiers of quantum computing, and to usher in a very promising future for the solution of a host of challenging problems."

"ISI is excited to continue our long-term relationship with Lockheed Martin and D-Wave and to host the next generations of D-Wave systems," said Stephen Crago, associate director of ISI and director of ISI's Computational Systems and Technology Division. "As the first university to host such a system, we will continue the search for applications and algorithms that harness the potential power of these and other quantum computing technologies."

The upgrades will enable researchers to continue studying how and whether quantum effects can speed up the solution of complex optimization, machine learning and sampling problems. QCC researchers expect that the next-generation D-Wave platform will enable new breakthrough results in quantum optimization. The arrangement also gives the researchers access to all of the programming tools and hybrid quantum-classical resources offered through Leap.

"By having direct access to the world's most advanced quantum annealer, tools and hybrid services, USC researchers will once more be in a position to continue the trend we started here with the arrival of the first D-Wave system in 2011, to make cutting edge discoveries in the field of quantum annealing, specifically quantum optimization and its applications, and quantum error suppression," said Daniel Lidar, holder of the Viterbi Professorship of Engineering at USC, and the scientific and technical director of QCC.

"We're pleased to continue a relationship that has advanced practical quantum computing for more than nine years, putting the technology in the hands of people who can make the most of it," said Kristen Pudenz, quantum research scientist and corporate lead for Quantum at Lockheed Martin. "Our new agreement allows for cloud access to the latest generation of QPUs at all times, helping drive the state-of-the-art forward, as we develop new capabilities and applications."

In addition to an increased qubit count that will enable programmers to build more powerful commercial quantum applications, the Advantage system will feature the most connected commercially-available QPUs ever produced by D-Wave. The new QPU will be a part of the Leap quantum cloud service that provides an expanded suite of hybrid software, services and tools, allowing developers to maximize the computing power of each QPU.

"USC ISI has been using D-Wave's quantum technology for 10 years, and we're fortunate to continue working with them as the applications and technology progress and mature," said Alan Baratz, CEO of D-Wave. "The future of quantum computing is cloud-based, which is why we're proud that ISI will host D-Wave's first Leap system in the United States. With real-time hybrid quantum classical access via the cloud, we know that ISI, Lockheed Martin and other leading-edge businesses will be able to power research, business advances and insights that have the potential to push the entire quantum computing industry forward."

Along with being the first to host a Leap system in the United States, QCC since 2011 is one of three facilities that host D-Wave systems currently operating outside of D-Wave's headquarters.