In the latest twist, Google has hired an academic team of researchers to help build the first Google quantum computer based on the specialized D-Wave approach rather than on a universal gate-model blueprint.
The Google announcement of its plan to build new quantum computing hardware coincided with its hiring of John Martinis, a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, last week.
Martinis has led an academic team in developing error correction techniques that can stabilize the quantum bits-called qubits-used by quantum computers to perform many simultaneous calculations by representing both 0 and 1 states at the same time.
Many news outlets, including IEEE Spectrum, had initially assumed that Google’s hiring of the Martinis team signaled the technology giant’s intent to develop universal quantum computing hardware as an alternative to D-Wave’s specialized quantum annealing machines.
Google’s own quantum computer plans seek to combine the best of both worlds by ensuring system stability through qubit coherence as the hardware scales up in size.
The Martinis group had previously built quantum computing systems of up to nine qubits based on superconducting quantum circuits-the same type of general hardware design used by D-Wave’s machines.
“One of the things that really attracted me to Google was Hartmut’s real desire to solve computer science problems with a quantum computer, not in the long term but in an immediate way,” Martinis says.