Season’s greetings from Q-CTRL!

The year at a glance

Beginning this message by saying that 2021 has been a momentous year for us would be an understatement. We’re grateful for that as we look ahead to brighter days and as we all continue to manage the ongoing complexities of the pandemic.

One of our core values is to Be Revered, and we’ve done everything we can to deliver. Despite obvious challenges, 2021 has been filled with amazing successes for everyone at Q-CTRL. We’ve grown by nearly 40% to about 65 on our team, approached $5M in annual revenue and $9M in bookings, and welcomed over 2,000 new customers.

It also astounds me to think that at this time last year we were just starting our focused recruitment in quantum sensing. We now have an operating cold-atom quantum sensor that we’re preparing to take to orbit and beyond.

Exciting collaborations

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate our partners and customers. Particular standouts from the past 12 months include: our partnership with Transport for NSW with whom we’ve helped achieve >200X improvement in algorithmic success through clever compilation; our collaboration with the R&D team at Chalmers University of Technology helping them to achieve >8X reduction in gate duration using Boulder Opal; the SA and NSW Governments with whom we have established long term infrastructure partnerships through our founding role in the Australian Space Park and Tech Central; and a new generation of quantum curious individuals and businesses whom we have welcomed to the Black Opal community, our interactive online learning platform for quantum computing.

Q-CTRL 2021 snapshot infographic

Research breakthroughs

The shared success that we’ve helped our clients achieve is underpinned by our research. In November, we announced incredible algorithmic benchmarking experiments that show how replacement quantum logic operations resistant against error can improve the success of quantum algorithms on real hardware by >25X with no additional overhead on the part of the user.

The foundation of those results was a series of major technical breakthroughs published in top-tier international journals using quantum control to design quantum logic gates—the building blocks of quantum algorithms—that are resilient against errors.

We began with the publication of Error-Robust Quantum Logic Optimization Using a Cloud Quantum Computer Interface in Physical Review Applied, constituting one of the first major demonstrations of our core quantum control technology on a commercial quantum computer. The experiments we performed demonstrated 10X improvements in qubit error rates, 10X reductions in variability between devices, and 10X improvements in system stability against drift.

Just a few days later, Quantum Oscillator Noise Spectroscopy via Displaced Cat States was published in Physical Review Letters. Here we showed how quantum control could be used to identify sources of error that arise during quantum logic gates. This work was in collaboration with The University of Sydney, which led to exciting new approaches to building and characterizing error-resilient quantum logic.

We then raised the bar even higher. In Experimental Deep Reinforcement Learning for Error-Robust Gate-Set Design on a Superconducting Quantum Computer, published in PRX Quantum, we showed for the first time how we could use AI agents to create new two-qubit quantum logic gates which beat the best human-designed alternatives. Our AI defined gates performed better by ~2.5X, were simpler, and exhibited stability for up to 25 days which is far in excess of the standard daily-calibrated gates used widely in the community.

Put together in the right way, all of these new capabilities in error-robust quantum logic — built using quantum control — dramatically extend the reach of today’s quantum computers. And that’s just what we saw with our algorithmic benchmarking studies.

Taking quantum sensing to the next level

As we continue to upscale infrastructure software for quantum computing, we are now applying our unique focus on quantum control to the development of “software-defined” quantum sensors. The new hardware that we are building leverages quantum control to improve quantum sensor performance, making it useful for navigation, space exploration, and earth observation in realistic environments - not just in the lab.

Our quantum sensing client portfolio already includes major commercial and public sector engagements with Advanced Navigation, the Australian Department of Defence, the US Air Force Research Lab, and the Australian Space Agency. And in the last year, we’ve had some extraordinary wins in major contracts and grants: from the Modern Manufacturing Initiative to the Moon-to-Mars Supply Chain.

Our investors

As a direct result of the success of our groundbreaking work and tremendous customer traction across both quantum computing and quantum sensing, I was pleased to announce that Airbus Ventures led our Series B Financing Round of $25 Million (USD) in December. This fundraise will support our growing quantum control efforts as well as enable new data-as-a-service markets powered by quantum sensing.

We welcome our newest investors - Airbus Ventures and Ridgeline Partners - and are grateful to our existing investor syndicate for their ongoing support. We're excited to move closer to realizing our vision to make quantum technology useful across all applications.

And in support of that vision, we were ecstatic to announce the formation of a Technical Advisory Board consisting of key research leaders in areas outside of quantum computing. We’ve brought together international experts in robotics, AI, and even automated circuit synthesis in FPGAs in order to help shape our technology and business as we work to go everywhere that quantum technology goes.

Q-CTRL team InnovationAus Australian Hero Award 2021

Recognition and celebrations

As a global company with Australian roots, we’re humbled to have been recognized for our contributions locally, having recently taken home the Australian Hero Award at the inaugural InnovationAus Awards for Excellence. We were also featured as one of the Top 100 Innovators by The Australian, one of Australia’s Most Innovative Technology Companies by the Financial Review, and one of the StartUs 5 Top Emerging Quantum Computing Startups. Finally, I was personally grateful to be honored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia at the inaugural Alliance Awards Gala.

Looking ahead

Stay tuned for more exciting news and announcements in the New Year about our products, involvement in major projects and events, our rapid global growth, and our transformational research.

As Marie Curie said, Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is that time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

We’re proud to do our part helping the world understand just a bit more, and we are grateful to all of you for your ongoing support and engagement and look forward to big things in 2022!

Happy holidays to all who are celebrating.

All the best, Michael J. Biercuk, CEO