The environment in which the system operates is kept at a temperature that is near absolute zero. So you probably remember, –273 degrees centigrade is the lowest temperature, called a thermodynamic limit or the lowest temperature that’s physically possible in the universe. This machine runs at 0.01 degrees kelvin, or 10 degrees millikelvin, above that.
So unless there’s any other intelligent life in the universe, this is the coldest environment in the universe that this machine has to run in. For instance, interstellar space is about 4 degrees kelvin, which is much, much warmer than our operating temperature.
That’s not the only part of it. We have to create a magnetic vacuum and an air vacuum. So there’s this coffee-can-sized environment that has this incredibly low temperature and this magnetic vacuum that is probably among the purest environments in the universe. There are no naturally occurring environments like this.
From an interview with the CEO of D-Wave Systems, Vern Brownell.