August 13, 2012

Dwave Systems landed $22.8 million in funding in June 2012

In June Venture Deal reported that D-Wave Systems, adiabatic quantum computing company, landed $22.8 million in new venture capital investment, according to an SEC filing.

D-Wave was still seeking $12.2 million in additional financing, according to the filing back in June 2012.

Nextbigfuture has had extensive coverage of Dwave systems. In December. 2011, I interviewed Dave CTO Geordie Rose.

The next 18 months will be a critical period for Dwave systems. Raising private money has become far more difficult in the current economic conditions. If Dwave were profitable, then they could IPO. If Dwave were not able to become profitable and IPO and could not raise private capital, then there would be the risk of having to shutdown.

It takes 1 month and dozens of steps (even after automation) to get any of the chips tuned up and ready for use.

One application of the Dwave system is for the optimization problem of creating treatment plans for cancer radiation treatment based on a 3D body scan. This treatment plan takes 1 week using the 128 qubit system but minutes with the 512 qubit system. The optimization algorithm runs 1000 times faster at 512 qubits versus 128 qubits. Cancer radiation treatment plans normally have one person developing the treatment plan and uses a $20 million machine to deliver the precision radiation. The Dwave optimized treatment plan would boost the safety of the treatment by several percent.

The amount of speedup depends upon the different quantum algorithms that are being run.

If the treatment optimization problem were indicative of the speedup of different algorithms, then one might expect (I am extrapolating the 512/128 qubit example)

512 qubits 1000 times faster than 128 qubits
2048 qubits 1000 times faster than 512 qubits

At the end of 2010, Dwave sold its first 128 qubit quantum computer to Lockheed for $10 million.

The funding should allow Dwave to make it past the critical 18 month period so that they can reach profitability and hopefully allow them commercialize the 512 qubit and/or 2048 qubit systems.

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