D-Wave bringing quantum computing to finance

Quantum for Quants project will apply quantum computing to understanding complexities of financial markets

D-Wave, based in Burnaby, is the world's first commercial quantum computing hardware company.

Some of the greatest minds in quantum computing, mathematics, economics and finance are teaming up to take a quantum computing approach to understanding the complexities of how financial markets behave.

Vancouver’s D-Wave systems Inc – the world’s first commercial quantum computing hardware company – has partnered with a quantum computing software firm, 1QB Information Technologies Inc., and a team of mathematicians, economists and finance industry wizards from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Deutsche Bank Securities and the CME Group to launch Quantum for Quants.

Quant is shorthand for “quantitative analyst” – someone who applies complex mathematics and statistical modeling in finance and risk management.

The Quantum for Quants initiative was launched May 10 in Budapest at the Global Derivatives and Risk Management conference.

It will allow financial industry analysts to access quantum computing tools in order to increase their analytical power when trying to analyze massive sets of complex data.

“Quantum computers have the potential to provide a different approach to solving very difficult finance problems, but it will take the collective intelligence of many experts to do so," said D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell.

The Quantum for Quants website includes a forum for computer scientists and analysts to discuss cutting-edge approaches to things like portfolio optimization.

“Sharing the tools we’ve built with the community will create a better understanding of how quantum computing can be applied to finance, and in turn will inspire the development of additional tools that enable these new applications,” said Landon Downs, president and co-founder of 1QBit.

Quantum computing is based on the weird principle in quantum physics in which a subatomic particle can have an either-or state known as superposition.

Whereas classical computing uses quantum bits to do its calculations (on or off, or 0 and 1), quantum computing uses qubits: 0 and 1, or 0 and 1 simultaneously.

It doesn’t necessarily make the calculations faster, but it increases complexity.

D-Wave’s quantum computers sell for about $10 million each and its customers and partners include Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT), Los Alamos National Laboratory, and NASA.

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos is among the investors who have invested more than $100 million in D-Wave. The company builds its quantum computers in its lab in Burnaby.

nbennett@biv.com