Canadian-based company D-Wave Systems is now selling a 10-foot tall quantum computer valued at $15 million. The computer, called the D-Wave 2000Q, runs on 2000 qubits. This computer comes as a successor to the previous 1000Q model, which had half the number of qubits.
The chip processor is roughly the size of a thumbnail. Most of the giant structure is dedicated to cryogenic refrigerators and shielding, as well as a liquid helium cooling system to keep the chips at a cool 15 millikelvins, equivalent to -459.6 degrees Fahrenheit. These systems ensure that the quantum computer will function properly, in the proper environment.
The first in line to buy the 2000Q is cyber security firm Temporal Defense Systems. The firm will reportedly use the computer to take on cyber security threats.
Google is already using D-Wave’s quantum computers, along with NASA, Lockheed Martin, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. D-Wave aims to upgrade the systems already in use by those companies.
The 2000Q performs its calculations through quantum annealing, a process that has garnered much controversy. It works by rendering a problem as a topographical map; opponents of the method argue that it does not work any faster than a regular computer to solve problems.
However, quantum computers are still significantly faster than most, if not all PCs on the market. While still not mainstream in use, more advanced hardware and use models are emerging. In an interview, D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell said, “A lot of that is unfolding and will have a similar dramatic changing in the computing landscape.” Brownell hopes that D-Wave’s quantum systems available to the general public through the cloud, via a subscription service. “To really flourish we have to make it easy to the consumer,” continued Brownell.
New York-based tech company IBM has already made its 5 qubit quantum computer accessible through the cloud to anyone curious about its functionality.