More real than Quantum Leap

Quantum computing gets some love with D-Wave taking in $29M

Quantum computing specialist D-Wave Systems now has $29 million in new funding and plans to go on a hiring spree to add to its staff of over 120 people, according to the company. The cash infusion follows a $30 million funding round landed last July.

D-Wave Systems did not name the lead investor or other investors; I reached out to the company for more information and will update this post if I hear back. Previous investors include Fidelity Canada Fund, [company]Goldman Sachs[/company], Business Development Bank of Canada and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Gigaom’s Derrick Harris previously reported that regardless of some of the debates about whether D-Wave technology constitutes a true quantum computing system, it’s clearly struck a chord with organizations that rely on powerful computing infrastructure.

[company]Lockheed Martin[/company], [company]Google[/company], NASA, the University of Southern California and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) are all D-Wave partners and plan to use its computers for research into machine learning and space exploration, according to the company’s statement.

While quantum computing is still far from mainstream, there are still some promising developments that could pave the way for smaller companies without the resources of a NASA or a Google to add quantum computing to their infrastructure.

This week, a team of scientists from the Università degli Studi di Pavia said they were able to outfit a silicon chip to handle quantum entanglement, a phenomenon in which particles can link up and influence each other no matter the distance separating them.

For more on how NASA plans to use quantum computing to boost space travel and artificial intelligence, be sure to check out this year’s Structure Data conference from March 18-19 in New York City; There, I’ll be talking with Davide Venturelli, science operations manager, NASA Ames Research Center, Universities Space Research Association and I’m sure to ask how NASA is using D-Wave Systems.

Update – 1:27 PM PST
D-Wave got back to me and said that it could not reveal the investor. Regarding more details on what it plans to do with its funding, CEO Vern Brownell had this to say, via email:

[blockquote person=”Vern Brownell” attribution=”Vern Brownell”]Growing our software capability and tools is a big priority, and we plan on doing a lot of hiring in that area, a big part of the 35 or so people total we plan to hire. We’re working both within the company, and with partners in the quantum ecosystem space, to build software and industry-specific applications that use quantum computing in a new and innovative way. [/blockquote]