UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 8 | Sep.
By Brian Lin
UBC physics grad Jeremy Hilton is convinced he’s part
of an elite team destined for something great -- something
that will revolutionize the way we live.
Four years into his first full-time job, Hilton is now Director
of Intellectual Property at D-Wave Systems, a Vancouver-based
company specializing in quantum computing technology.
Hilton has helped D-Wave file almost 100 patents related
to quantum computing, more than the number of patents filed
by industry giants IBM, NEC and the U.S. Department of Defense
Co-founded in 1999 by UBC physics PhD Geordie Rose with
the help of his UBC mentor, venture capitalist Haig Farris,
D-Wave has earned a reputation in the field as a serious contender
in the race to build the first quantum computer in the world,
an achievement that has been likened to electricity in the
D-Wave was the first quantum computing start-up to receive
venture capital backing, having impressed local and national
investment funds. D-Wave recently became the first quantum
computing company to receive financing from a top-tier US
venture capital fund. At US$8 million, the financing led by
Silicon Valley venture fund Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and including
investment from the $60 billion British Columbia Investment
Corporation, solidified the company’s leadership role
in the field..
Hilton and Rose have no doubt of the feasibility of the
device that promises to blow all traditional computers right
out of the water. Using quantum mechanics, the rules that
govern all matter and energy, to accelerate computation, quantum
computers are theorized to outperform any conceivable conventional
“We know it’s going to work,” says Hilton.
“It’s just a matter of time.”
Both avid athletes -- Hilton was on the UBC Varsity swim
team and Rose has won numerous national wrestling titles --
they learned more than just physics at UBC.
“I learned to think outside the box,” says Hilton.
“The ability to be creative in solving problems is invaluable.”
Rose’s eureka moment happened in Farris’s entrepreneurship
class at the business school. “We got to meet and speak
to people who were successful Vancouver-based entrepreneurs,
such as Norm Francis of Pivotal and Paul Lee of Electronic
Arts,” says Rose. “And my reaction was ‘I
can do that!’”
Already armed with a strong contingent of UBC alums -- nine
out of 22 full-time staff are UBC grads -- Rose says he won’t
hesitate to hire some more. “UBC folks always live up
to our expectations. They’re extremely well trained
compared to grads from other university and colleges.”