D-Wave Systems opens free access to hybrid quantum computing for coronavirus researchers


D-Wave Systems’ hardware makes hybrid quantum-classical applications available through its Leap cloud service. (D-Wave Systems Photo) Burnaby, B.C.-based D-Wave Systems says it’s providing free access to its Leap hybrid quantum cloud service to anyone who’s working on responses to the coronavirus outbreak.
But wait … there’s more: D-Wave’s partners and customers are providing expertise to help researchers use quantum tools to study the virus and how to stop it.
The companies joining the quantum fray alongside D-Wave include Volkswagen, Kyocera, NEC Solution Innovators, Denso, Cineca, Forschungszentrum Jülich, MDR/Cliffhanger, Menten AI, OTI Lumionics, QAR Lab at LMU Munich, Sigma-i and Tohoku University.
“We want to expand the computational capabilities to experts across disciplines, verticals and geographies, and bring the community’s deep quantum knowledge to bear on the complex and dynamic COVID-19 situation,” D-Wave CEO Alan Baratz said today in a news release .
In contrast to classical computing, which deals in the definitive ones and zeros of binary data processing, quantum computing takes advantage of molecular-scale weirdness to process data as indefinite combinations of ones and zeroes as quantum bits, or qubits.
D-Wave uses an approach known as quantum annealing, which works well for simulating quantum phenomena and optimizing network systems.

The company’s hybrid quantum-classical cloud service could conceivably help researchers simulate molecular interactions between coronavirus and its target cells, or simulate the spread of the COVID-19 disease in complex settings. It could also help planners optimize supply chains and hospital logistics.
“Computing technology has long contributed to the development of science and industry,” said Koji Arima, Denso’s president and CEO. “Quantum computing now has the potential to further this development, and we were one of the first to start research in this field in the auto industry. We are honored to join the [COVID-19] project, which will leverage this experience, mobilize our global expertise and activate our spirit of collaboration.”
D-Wave’s quantum consortium is only one of the groupings using advanced computing technologies to address the coronavirus crisis.
Two weeks ago, leaders in the artificial intelligence research community — including Microsoft and Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence — unveiled the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset , which uses AI to give scientists wider and quicker access to the latest research on the virus.
Last week, leaders in the field of high-performance computing — including Amazon and Microsoft — said they’re joining forces to facilitate access to supercomputers and cloud computing services for coronavirus research.

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