A new generation of made-in-B.C. quantum computers will use advanced technology to help reduce the energy used by computers that solve large, complex problems.
The Province is supporting Burnaby-based D-Wave Systems to develop a next-generation quantum computer. It will be far more powerful than its current model, on a wider variety of applications, without increasing power demands. The technology will also improve the way computers solve problems for people in areas such as precision medicine, discovery of new materials, traffic management and climate change.
“We need to invest in the technology and jobs of the future,” said Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “We’re supporting innovation in quantum computers that will reduce overall energy use and create sustainable economic opportunities for people in B.C.”
Classical computers process large amounts of information very quickly. However, they require significant amounts of electricity to operate. For certain problems, D-Wave’s existing quantum systems dramatically reduce power consumption, using up to 100 times less, while still running faster than a classic computer solving the same problem.
“Solving the complex problems of tomorrow requires a new kind of computing innovation,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “Groundbreaking projects like this address the energy needs of future computers and contribute to the growing clean-tech sector in B.C.”
B.C.’s $2-million investment in D-Wave’s project was provided through the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund, which supports energy efficiency and clean initiatives. It adds to the $10 million provided through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and private investment raised by D-Wave specifically for this project.
"D-Wave Systems is developing technology with the potential to help solve some of the world's most complex problems whether they be technical, scientific or commercial," said Leah Lawrence, president and CEO of SDTC. "We are proud our partnership with the B.C. ICE Fund creates a one-window approach for companies to access the funding they need to deliver economic and environmental prosperity for Canadians."
D-Wave develops systems used by leading global organizations, including Volkswagen, DENSO, Google and NASA, among others.
“This investment will help accelerate our company’s next-generation quantum system, developed right here in B.C.,” said Vern Brownell, chief executive officer at D-Wave. “Our advanced technology is leading the sector and will significantly improve energy efficiency for hard computational problems and may, over time, help address climate change.”
This initiative aligns with CleanBC, the province’s pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future, and will get B.C. closer to its climate goals.
- D-Wave expects quantum technology will be applied to solve new problems, creating opportunities for new products and services that will further reduce energy use and emissions.
- There are 100 early applications built on D-Wave systems, including airline scheduling, quantum chemistry simulation, automotive design and preventative health care.
- Volkswagen is using D-Wave’s technology to find more efficient ways to forecast urban traffic volumes, transport demand and travel times. This can help public transit agencies, taxi companies and other transport service providers use their fleets more efficiently.
- DENSO Corporation — a leading supplier of advanced automotive technology — has reported an increased efficiency of its factory automated vehicles on a small scale using existing D-Wave systems.
- SDTC and the B.C. ICE Fund launched a partnership in March 2017 to make it easier for companies like D-Wave to access the funding they need to develop new technologies that can transform traditional industries and deliver economic and environmental prosperity for Canadians.
- D-Wave currently employs more than 150 highly skilled workers at its Burnaby office.
To learn more about D-Wave Systems, visit: www.dwavesys.com
To learn more about the Innovative Clean Energy Fund, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/electricity-alternative-energy/innovative-clean-energy-solutions/innovative-clean-energy-ice-fund
To learn more about Sustainable Development Technology Canada, visit: www.sdtc.ca
To learn more about CleanBC, visit: www.cleanbc.gov.bc.ca
For a Chinese translation of this news release, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_D-Wave_ICE_Fund_Chinese.pdf
A backgrounder follows.