D-Wave Systems announced a partnership with Japanese industrial giant NEC today to build what they call “hybrid apps and services” that work on a combination of NEC high-performance computers and D-Wave’s quantum systems.
The two companies also announced that NEC will be investing $10 million in D-Wave, which has raised $204 million prior to this, according to Crunchbase data.
D-Wave’s chief product officer and EVP of R&D, Alan Baratz, whom the company announced this week will be taking over as CEO effective January 1st, says the company has been able to do a lot of business in Japan, and the size of this deal could help push the technology further. “Our collaboration with global pioneer NEC is a major milestone in the pursuit of fully commercial quantum applications,” he said in a statement.
The company says it is one of the earliest deals between a quantum vendor and a multinational IT company with the size and scale of NEC. The deal involves three key elements. First of all, NEC and D-Wave will come together to develop hybrid services that combine NEC’s supercomputers and other classical systems with D-Wave’s quantum technology. The hope is that by combining the classical and quantum systems, they can create better performance for lower cost than you could get if you tried to do similar computing on a strictly classical system.
The two companies will also work together with NEC customers to build applications that will take advantage of this hybrid approach. Also, NEC will be an authorized reseller of D-Wave cloud services.
For NEC, which claims to have demonstrated the world’s first quantum bit device way back in 1999, it is about finding ways to keep advancing commercial quantum computing. “Quantum computing development is critical for the future of every industry tasked with solving today’s most complex problems. Hybrid applications and greater access to quantum systems is what will allow us to achieve truly commercial-grade quantum solutions,” Motoo Nishihara, executive vice president and CTO at NEC Corporation, said in a statement.
This deal should help move the companies toward that goal.