Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quantum Computing: D-wave Grabs $30 Million in Equity

          In a recent post entitled "First Across the Rubicon: Vesuvius, the Black Box, and the Quantum Mind," I described the foremost efforts at a functional quantum computer, namely the system invented over at D-Wave systems based out of British Columbia, Canada. More recently, the company raised $30 million in equity from the investing arm of the CIA as well as Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

          Vern Brownell, CEO of D-wave systems had this to say: "Jeff Bezos and In-Q-Tel are well-known visionaries. Both understand the implications of quantum computing as a world changing force, and these investments affirm their belief in D-Wave's unique approach to quantum computing. We want to thank our current investors for their abiding support. With these funds, we are accelerating our trajectory, putting this technology and its applications into the hands of users." The impact of this new round of investments is three-fold, and the subject of this post. 

          First of all, the investment will allow D-wave to continue optimizing the Quantum Annealing approach to QC. Most of all, improving the scaling methods and software (BlackBox) will be the direct results of such funding. The secondary result is exposure and public perception.  D-Wave, with the backing of prestigious investors, is slated to be the Quantum Annealer of choice. The McDonalds of burgers, the Kleenex of tissues.  This is important for future funding and attracting talent, as well as when the technology is sufficiently deflated in cost that it can be circulated among non-research and industrial applications (personal computers used to be half the size of a football field, and cost a million dollars. Now they cost 100 and fit in our pocket).

 Finally, this investing toes the door to approaching more mainstream conceptions of quantum computing, specifically, a universal quantum computer.  Currently, D-Wave is NOT pursuing this avenue. Rather, they are fine tuning their business model and working on approaching BlackBox relative to the specific needs of research groups and companies that make use of quantum annealing. 

Other investors for D-wave include"[the] Business Development Bank of Canada, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Goldman Sachs, Growthworks, Harris & Harris Group, International Investment and Underwriting, Kensington Partners Limited." 

For further reading on D-wave, visit their website at

I will continue to update on the advancement of QC - stay tuned.

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