Rigetti build first UK commercial quantum computing system

Rigetti build first UK commercial quantum computing system

Technology News |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Rigetti and its partners have completed building its first quantum computing system in the UK and plan to make it available through Rigetti Quantum Cloud Services in early 2022.

The commercial quantum computer, which Rigetti says is the first in the UK is part of an Innovate UK project including Oxford Instruments, University of Edinburgh, quantum software start-up Phasecraft, and Standard Chartered Bank.

The quantum chips are built at Rigetti’s Fab-1, the industry’s only dedicated captive quantum foundry, to developing next generation hardware in partnership with Oxford Instruments,(OI) and designing quantum algorithms tailored to real world problems in finance and materials science, led by the University of Edinburgh, Standard Chartered Bank, and Phasecraft.

The quantum computing system has been assembled and is now moving into testing and Quantum Processing Unit (QPU) characterisation and selection. This has only been possible through several other important achievements by the team, such as the delivery of the ProteoxLX cooling system and the set-up of the computing facility infrastructure by Oxford Instruments.

The quantum computer is hosted inside OI’s facility at Tubney Wood, where OI provides the equipment and infrastructure to operate the Proteox fridge in a resilient way, enabling long-term commercial operation of a quantum computer. OI and Rigetti collaborated closely to define the specifications to reach the project goals.

The system will be upgraded with a larger, higher quality quantum processor in the second half of 2022 while advancing high uptime fridge and hosting operations.

During the building of the computer, Phasecraft, the University of Edinburgh, and Standard Chartered developed several prototypes in materials simulation, quantum machine learning, and quantum verification and error mitigation, by accessing Rigetti’s quantum systems through QCS (Quantum Cloud Services) hosted in the US.

Phasecraft are working on the development of higher-performance batteries and solar cells by solving materials modelling problems beyond the capacity of today’s best supercomputers. Phasecraft’s algorithms and software have reduced the complexity of existing materials modelling algorithms by orders of magnitude, bringing quantum-mechanical simulation problems closer to feasibility on near-term quantum computers.

Standard Chartered is experimenting with how quantum machine learning can improve volatility predictions in financial markets. Going forward, Standard Chartered is also exploring large scale environmental, social, and governance challenges.

“The system we have built in the UK is designed to be easily scalable to larger numbers of qubits and more advanced architectures. This is particularly important because Rigetti plans to keep this UK-based system cutting-edge by upgrading the system as new processors become available,” said Oxford Instruments.

The plan over the next five years is to demonstrate quantum advantage, where a quantum computer can solve a real-world problem better, faster, or cheaper than is currently possible with classical computers. 

This needs continuous, rapid improvements in both scale and performance for the quantum hardware, which includes bringing in more partners from different industries and application areas. The consortium is now working on scaling the current application prototypes to larger qubit counts while mitigating computational errors.

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