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Quantum Computing at USRA

NASA, Google and USRA establish Quantum Computing Research Collaboration
20% of Computing Time will be Provided to the University and Industry Research Communities

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has entered into a joint Space Act Agreement with NASA and Google, to conduct collaborative research on the benefits of quantum computing for a range of challenging applications. This collaboration brings together university research, government research and industrial research in one of the most cutting edge areas of computing research today - quantum computing.

D-Wave 2X™ at NASA's Ames Research Center

dwaveFor the collaboration, USRA has installed a D-Wave 2X™ quantum computer in the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Facility at NASA's Ames Research Center, and will operate the computer for the duration of the agreement. The computer has been upgraded to have a processor with 1152 quantum bits (qubits), and is planned to be upgraded over time as new processors become available (e.g., a processor with 2,048 qubits is planned to be the next upgrade). This computer uses a novel technique referred to as adiabatic quantum computing, which enables users to solve complex discrete combinatorial optimization problems using quantum physics.

USRA Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities Program USRA will manage the science operations for the collaboration, which includes an allocation of 20% of the computing time to the research community through a competitive selection process. Computing time will be provided at no-cost. Through this competitive process, research organizations will be able to utilize a state-of-the-art quantum computer, and also collaborate with researchers at NASA, Google and other universities.

Research will focus on the benefits of quantum computing for solving complex discrete combinatorial optimization problems, including machine learning and other artificial intelligence problems. Example aeronautics and space applications include planning and scheduling, software verification and validation, and power optimization, among others.

This collaboration builds on a thirty-year history of cooperation between the USRA Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) and NASA's Ames Research Center, which started with a focus on supercomputing and artificial intelligence, and now extends that focus to include the intersection of quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

USRA has an open Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Research Opportunity, which will allocate free computer time for research projects to be run on the D-Wave System at NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC). See

To register to receive future announcements on the research opportunity, visit USRA's Research Opportunities Program. In the Areas of Interest section, please check the box for Quantum Computing.


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