D-Wave Systems Raises $28.4 Million Round

Quantum computing technology company D-Wave Systems has raised a new $28.4 million round of funding, according to a new filing on the SEC’s site.

This latest round, the largest since a $30 million round in October 2012, brings the company’s total funding to approximately $160 million. Investments in the round came from new and existing investors include Fidelity Canada Fund, Goldman Sachs, Draper Fisher Jurveston, and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

This comes weeks after a recent controversy regarding whether or not the company’s quantum computers — employed by the likes of Lockheed Martin, Google, and NASA — actually offer “quantum speedup,” solving problems faster than a traditional computer. Here’s how Scientific American’s Seth Fletcher summarized the study that started the controversy:

The first thing to know about the D-Wave Two is that it is not a general quantum computer—it’s what is called a quantum annealer, which should, in theory, be capable of solving certain types of optimization and sorting problems exponentially faster than a classical computer. To test it, the authors of the Science paper tested 1,000 randomly chosen cost-function problems on both the D-Wave Two and a classical annealer.

They found that, overall, the D-Wave did not exhibit quantum speedup on the set of problems used. The group phrased its findings very diplomatically. “This does not mean the device cannot have quantum speedup,” lead author Matthias Troyer says. “It just means that in the tests we conducted, [quantum speedup] was not there.”

Researchers from Google’s artificial intelligence lab responded with a blog post with its own findings from D-Wave tests. Their view: the researchers simply weren’t running tests difficult enough to show the benefits of quantum hardware.

“This funding is a strong endorsement of D-Wave’s ability to deliver the first viable quantum computer to organizations in need of a new caliber of computing,” said D-Wave Systems CEO Vern Brownell in a press release. “For quantum computing to achieve its enormous potential in such diverse areas as genetically personalized medicine, mission planning, systems optimization and machine learning, we need to build a software ecosystem through partnerships with world experts. This new capital will allow us to fund the software development and personnel needed to deliver the first quantum applications.”

TechCrunch’s Colleen Taylor sat down with D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell last December for an in-depth look at the company and the race to build a quantum computer: