Validating Complex Systems
Lockheed Martin is one of the largest defense contractors in the world. It operates in Aeronautics, Information Systems & Global Solutions, Missile and Fire Control, Mission Systems and Training, and Space Systems. Lockheed Martin designs highly elaborate systems. Yet, on average, half the cost of creating them is on verification and validation (V and V).
Lockheed’s Chief Scientist, Ned Allen, wanted to explore an entirely new approach that might reduce the cost and time for V and V, recognizing that in the future systems would become even more complex. For help finding a quantum system to solve the problem, Allen turned to Daniel Lidar, a professor of electrical engineering, chemistry, and physics at the University of Southern California (currently the Director and co-founder of the USC Center for Quantum Information Science & Technology).
Ned Allen sent D-Wave a sample problem to run on its system. It was a 30-year-old chunk of code from an F-16 aircraft with an error that took Lockheed Martin’s best engineers several months to find. Just six weeks after sending it to D-Wave, the software error was identified.
In late 2010 Lockheed Martin became the first D-Wave customer. Their D-Wave One system, which is the first commercially available quantum computer in the world, was installed at USC’s Information Sciences Institute so that they could explore its potential.
This is a revolution not unlike the early days of computing. It is a transformation in the way computers are thought about.
- Ray Johnson, Lockheed Martin’s chief technical officer
In May 2013 Lockheed Martin upgraded its D-Wave One quantum computer to a 512-qubit D-Wave Two computer and planned to expand research into its potential for solving challenges ranging from designing lifesaving new drugs to instantaneously debugging millions of lines of software code.
In November 2015 upgraded its system to the 1000+ qubit D-Wave 2X quantum computer. Greg Tallant, Lockheed Martin fellow and lead for the University of Southern California-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computation Center (QCC) said "Through our continued investment in D-Wave technology, we are able to push the boundaries of quantum computing and apply the latest technologies to address the real-world problems being faced by our customers.”