Tohoku University Establishes Research and Development Program using D-Wave Quantum Computers

Focus is on the practical deployment of optimization technology and machine learning accelerated by quantum computers

[Points]

  • In collaboration with D-Wave Systems Inc., the company that developed the world’s first commercial quantum computer, Tohoku University is establishing a research and development program using quantum computers.
  • D-Wave quantum computers are designed to solve hard “optimization problems,” such as finding optimal solutions or the most efficient answer from a vast number of possibilities, and to perform “machine learning,” using sampling technology that outputs the results of many possibilities that are simultaneously considered. The system has the potential to solve various types of real-world problems which many companies, government agencies, and universities need to solve more quickly and efficiently.
  • As a university, we will construct a research team consisting of students and teachers, and promote human resource development that enables quantum-computer-based research and development, regional exchange, and social problem solving.

[Overview]

Development of artificial intelligence systems as a means to solve highly complex problems is quickly becoming competitive around the world, fueled by large-scale data, and the availability of high-speed computing technology to process the data. There is also a radical new approach to addressing such complex problems, quantum computing. One of the most promising of such approaches uses a method called “quantum annealing”, which has evolved from some theoretical physics work done in Japan about 20 years ago. The company that succeeded in first developing this new quantum computer and launching it commercially is D-Wave Systems Inc., headquartered in Canada.

With the support of the research and development project, “Program for Creating Start-ups from Advanced Research and Technology (START),” promoted by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Associate Professor Masayuki Ohzeki of the Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University, has started using a D-Wave 2000Q™ system, the latest quantum computer developed by D-Wave.

The D-Wave 2000Q system, with 2000 qubits, can process complicated information in a unique manner. The research team at Tohoku University is doing basic research to explore the potential of quantum annealing using the D-Wave 2000Q system, as well as application research on how quantum annealing can solve real-world problems.

All D-Wave customer systems are currently installed in the United States, including those used by Lockheed Martin, Google, NASA Ames, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and other organizations.  However, the annual international conference on quantum annealing was hosted in Japan this past summer, and companies like Recruit Communications as well as some automotive companies are using D-Wave systems over the cloud.  In addition to projects at Waseda University and with services and software company Fixstars, this new project is the first major quantum annealing application project at a Japanese national university funded by the Japanese government.

About Tohoku University

Tohoku University was founded in 1907. It initiated an “Open Door” policy, and in 1913 became the first university in Japan to admit female students. At the time of its founding, TU was able to attract brilliant young researchers from around the world to serve as faculty members. A “Research First” principle was thus established, calling on scholars to both pursue productive research, and also to use their findings in the teaching of their students. TU also has a proud tradition of “Practice-Oriented Research and Education,” in which the results of its research are used to benefit society.

About Dr. Ohzeki

Dr. Ohzeki graduated with a Ph.D. in physics from Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2008 under supervision by Prof. Hidetoshi Nishimori. His thesis is on analysis on finite-dimensional spin glasses. His career starts from theoretical study on quantum annealing as a postdoctoral fellow. After he worked as an assistant professor in the Kyoto University, he has been an associate professor at the Graduate School of Information Science at Tohoku University. His research interests are broad, including machine learning and quantum annealing and its application to various problems. Dr. Ohzeki broadens the application range of the quantum annealing according to the social demands and investigates the potential power of the non-stoquastic Hamiltonian, which includes the XX interaction. Dr. Ohzeki was awarded the 6th Young Scientists’ Award of the Physical Society of Japan, and the Young Scientists’ Prize by The Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2016.

About D-Wave Systems Inc.

D-Wave is the leader in the development and delivery of quantum computing systems and software, and the world’s only commercial supplier of quantum computers. Our mission is to unlock the power of quantum computing for the world. We believe that quantum computing will enable solutions to the most challenging national defense, scientific, technical, and commercial problems. D-Wave’s systems are being used by some of the world’s most advanced organizations, including Lockheed Martin, Google, NASA Ames, USRA, USC, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. With headquarters near Vancouver, Canada, D-Wave’s U.S. operations are based in Palo Alto, CA and Hanover, MD. D-Wave has a blue-chip investor base including Goldman Sachs, Bezos Expeditions, DFJ, In-Q-Tel, BDC Capital, Growthworks, 180 Degree Capital Corp., International Investment and Underwriting, and Kensington Partners Limited. For more information, visit: www.dwavesys.com.