So what can you get by putting one to use for your company, as Lockheed Martin (LMT) has since it bought the world’s first corporate model from D-Wave Systems in 2011? (A few weeks ago, Google (GOOG) bought the second.) The aerospace and security giant has been operating its device at the University of Southern California’s Quantum Computation Center for the past 18 months.
Bloomberg Businessweek spoke with Brad Pietras, Lockheed’s vice president in charge of technology, about quantum computing’s value to his business and its future.
For those unfamiliar with quantum computing, can you explain how this machine differs from a conventional computer?
Quantum computing uses the quantum nature of matter, the atoms themselves, as computing devices. Normal computer architecture is based on the bit—represented either as a one or a zero. The quantum computer is programmed so that the input is initially both zero and one.