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Amazon CEO Bezos partners with CIA for £18m investment in quantum computing firm D-Wave

Is quantum computing the technology of the future? Amazon founder Jeff Bezos seems to think so, having just jointly invested $30 million (£18.6m) in Vancouver, Canada-based firm D-Wave Systems.

Intriguingly, the Amazon CEO's entrepreneurial vehicle, Bezos Expeditions, teamed up with In-Q-Tel - essentially the venture capital arm of the CIA - for the latest investment round.

"We are pleased to have such highly regarded investors in our company," D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell said in a statement. "Both understand the implications of quantum computing as a world changing force."

As described by D-Wave, quantum computing combines the laws of quantum physics - which allows bits of matter to be in two states simultaneously - with modern-day computing, which relies on the manipulation of billions of bits of information.

"Quantum computing combines these two ideas, allowing us to put bits of information into their 0 and 1 states at the same time," according to D-Dave. "This process allows quantum computers to consider and manipulate all combinations of bits simultaneously, making quantum computation powerful and fast."

D-Wave currently offers its One system, a high-performance computing system for Fortune 500 companies, governments, and academia that runs a 128-qubit processor chip.

"Our Intelligence Community customers have many complex problems that tax classical computing architecture," Robert Ames, a vice president at IQT, said in a statement. "We believe our customers can benefit from the promise of quantum computing, and this investment in D-Wave is a first step in that direction."

The new funding will be used to grow D-Wave's commercial operations.

The new addition brings D-Wave's total funding to almost $100 million (£62m).

Other D-Wave investors include Business Development Bank of Canada, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Goldman Sachs, Growthworks, Harris & Harris Group, International Investment and Underwriting, and Kensington Partners Limited.

Bezos is involved in a number of tech-related side projects in addition his CEO role at Amazon. In March, he unveiled a plan to salvage the huge F-1 engines that powered the first stage of the Saturn V that carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the Moon. He also has his own aerospace venture, known as Blue Origin, and has pursued ideas like airbags for smartphones.