Shutdown Hits Google, NASA Quantum Computer Lab

It's operational, but in limbo


When Google and NASA announced plans to boot up an honest-to-goodness quantum computer at NASA's Ames Research Center, it seemed like the beginning of something very big.

Researchers from around the world would get their chance to kick the tires of a D-Wave Two — an entirely new type of computer built by a Canadian company that claims it has harnessed the computing power of quantum physics. Lockheed Martin was already running a D-Wave system operated out of the University of Southern California, but the Google-funded Ames Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab was to be the company's second customer.

"We're excited to get started," wrote Google Engineering Director Hartmut Neven in a blog post back in May, after the search giant purchased the machine. And last month, a NASA Ames spokeswoman told us that engineers expected to have the system up and running by October.

But then came the government shutdown, which has shuttered everything from Yosemite National Park to, yes, the NASA Ames Research Center.

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