Swiss deal to boost quantum computer design

Swiss deal to boost quantum computer design

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Australian quantum startup Q-CTRL is partnering with the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland to scale-up the design of quantum computers.

The strategic partnership will combine Q-CTRL’s experience with PSI’s engineering and research at ETH Zurich. ETH Zurich is a quantum science powerhouse and formed a Quantum Computing Hub in May 2021 on PSI’s campus in Villigen. Both are working to translate quantum computing research into building large scale systems.

The two have now partnered with Q-CTRL to provide the critical infrastructure software tools for system characterization, AI-based automation, and hardware optimization that are essential for large-scale quantum computing to become reality.

“Q-CTRL’s focus on solving the automation and performance challenges in large-scale quantum computing align perfectly with the PSI Quantum Computing Hub’s mission,” said Prof Michael Biercuk, CEO of founder of Q-CTRL, which has headquarters in Sydney, Los Angeles and Berlin.

As PSI seeks to scale up quantum hardware using trapped ions, Q-CTRL’s expertise in quantum control and AI-based automation, including error correction techniques will help to solve the critical challenges enabling large-scale, quantum-error-corrected quantum computers.

“Q-CTRL’s hardware agnostic, yet hardware-aware tools will be very valuable in finding optimal control solutions that ensure uniform performance across larger qubit arrays,” said Dr. Cornelius Hempel, Group head, Ion Trap Quantum Computing at the Paul Scherrer Institute. “As we go to larger and larger machines and continuous operation of testbeds, efficient and automated tuneup and calibration procedures become an essential aspect of day-to-day operations – it’s just not possible to continue using brute-force approaches at scale. Our team is very excited to leverage the tools the Q-CTRL team has developed in this space.”

PSI is the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences in Switzerland, conducting cutting-edge research in three main fields: matter and materials, energy and the environment and human health. PSI develops, builds and operates complex large research facilities such as the synchrotron Swiss Light Source (SLS), the free-electron X-ray laser SwissFEL and the SINQ neutron source and employs 2100 people and is primarily financed by the Swiss Confederation.

Last week Q-CTRL showed that they could achieve up to 9,000X improvements in quantum computing benchmarks. It worked with researchers at European quantum startup BEIT who were early users of Q-CTRL’s technology.

“Our preliminary research has suggested that the combined performance of BEIT algorithms accelerated by Q-CTRL’s Fire Opal product is able to achieve unprecedented results on popular benchmarks like Grover Search on larger Quantum computers,” said Paulina Mazurek, CEO of BEIT, based in Poland.

“BEIT has been pushing the limits on quantum algorithms but has faced the same barriers as everyone else in hardware performance. We were impressed how Fire Opal has opened totally new frontiers in our research and is bringing quantum advantage closer, enabling results better than classically possible for one of the cornerstone quantum algorithms. In some cases this software fundamentally transformed hardware, allowing results deemed impossible by previous benchmarks,” she said.

Q-CTRL’s results were achieved entirely through conventional cloud access to commercial quantum computers, with no special access to hardware required. This proves these capabilities can be delivered to any user with an internet connection and a desire to achieve more from today’s quantum computers.

“Our benchmarking experiments demonstrate that there’s hidden performance inside today’s quantum computers that can become available with the right error-correcting software tools – no changes to hardware are needed,” said Biercuk at Q-CTRL. “We’re excited to offer this technology to researchers, end users, and manufacturers worldwide to accelerate the path to quantum advantage and bring real-world applications closer to fruition.”

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