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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 8 | Sep. 2, 2004


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 combined.

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 1830s.

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 supercomputer.

“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.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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