Atlantic Quantum, a young startup that builds quantum computers (machines capable of processing complex information at extremely high speeds), has published new research that shows that the architecture of his quantum computer’s underlying circuits produces fewer errors than the industry standard used by quantum computers built by companies such as IBM and Google.
Although they are still years away from real-world application, quantum computers can be used to solve some complex problems faster and better than the computers we use today: from the advance from drug discovery to the creation of lighter batteries and the decryption of encryption protocols.
Quantum computing also has potential applications in areas such as weather forecasting and stock market volatility forecasting. “But that will only happen after overcoming some major hardware hurdles” says Atlantic Quantum CEO Bharath Kannan, who co-founded the MIT startup last year and raised $9 million in seed funding.
A key component behind a quantum computer is the “qubit,” an aluminum superconducting circuit or “electrical switch” built on silicon chips that encodes information. But scientists are struggling to create a qubit that can be scaled up to the point where it outperforms conventional computing. Atlantic Quantum’s goal is to address that exact issue, and it’s getting close, Kannan thinks.
“With quantum technology, you know, it’s not really a question of if quantum computers can do it, but when and that’s what we have to do. We just have to make sure that when not 50 years from now,” said Kannan
To date, the technology architecture pioneered by the startup produces 99.9% accuracy for a two-qubit circuit. Over time, it took approximately millions of TKs to work together and achieve speeds faster than conventional computers; To give an idea of where the industry is at, the quantum computer with the largest number of qubits built so far, at IBM, has only 433.
But co-founder and lead researcher Leon Ding says his research findings are unique because they present a qubit architecture that is the first major alternative to standard circuits that used since 2007. In addition, low error rates could make quantum computers less complex and require a much smaller number of these circuits, he said. The next milestone for the startup is to increase the number of qubits in one of its systems while maintaining minimal errors.
Atlantic Quantum also announced last week a $1.25 million contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory to build quantum processors for national defense purposes. Other recent highlights for the new startup include its first R&D facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where a chandelier-shaped dilution refrigerator powers its quantum computers, and in June it opened a subsidiary in Sweden for chip manufacturing.
Kannan said that big tech companies like IBM and Google would have a hard time finding his designs, because his company controls many of the key patents for them.
“Maybe they should, but I mean we own a lot of intellectual property around it, so they can’t. It’s not easy, I can say it’s not enough to just move your fingers and start using the that qubit. There is also much of our key intellectual property: we have a way of controlling these qubits that is much simpler than the standard one,” Kannan concluded.