Press release

Q-CTRL Releases New Open-Source Quantum Control Package for IBM Q Experience

April 17, 2019
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Australia's first venture-capital backed quantum technology startup, Q-CTRL, will today release a new open-source library, putting the power of quantum control into the hands of developers worldwide.

Sydney quantum computing startup, Q-CTRL, is releasing an open-source library of techniques focused on error suppression that is compatible with IBM Q hardware. This library enables researchers and end users to experience the core technology underpinning Q-CTRL products, which has the power to deliver large performance improvements for quantum computing hardware built by global companies. Q-CTRL's solutions will help accelerate the path to the first useful quantum computers, capable of solving important problems in chemistry, drug discovery and industry.

Open Controls integrates directly with IBM's Qiskit programming framework for quantum computers and now enables users to explore how quantum control - Q-CTRL's area of expertise - can be used to improve the performance of quantum computers. It is a critical enabler for the first useful quantum computers capable of solving important problems in chemistry, drug discovery, and industry.

"The open-source package we're releasing allows both new and expert users to easily run special error-suppressing controls directly on IBM Q quantum computers or their own hardware. We're removing barriers to the community's use of these powerful techniques as we help bring the first commercially relevant quantum computers to reality," said Q-CTRL CEO and Founder Professor Michael J. Biercuk.

Quantum computers take various exotic forms, with some of the world's largest technology companies building specialized circuits out of loops of superconducting materials, and others using individual trapped atoms.

However, all approaches to building quantum computers bring the same major challenge - the hardware is unstable and errors rapidly appear in a computation. A typical quantum computer today suffers so many errors that it becomes useless after less than a thousandth of a second - an extremely short time before the notorious "blue screen of death" would appear.

Q-CTRL uses its special expertise in quantum control engineering to stabilize this hardware, enabling it to do more and remain useful for longer. It's this expertise that led Q-CTRL to be selected as an inaugural startup member of the IBM Q Network in 2018.

Q-CTRL Open Controls

In a quantum computer, performing a computation ultimately requires manipulation of physical hardware. Q-CTRL redefines what this manipulation looks like, using "modulation" concepts similar to the way radios and mobile phones work, such that the same computation is run, but with better performance.

These solutions have long been accessible only to a small set of highly specialized research teams working on this problem. With today's launch of Open Controls, an entire library of stabilizing quantum controls formatted to be easily run on any machine, including IBM's publicly available hardware, is now freely available. No expert training is required.

Anyone can download the Open Controls Python package and integrate these solutions directly into their own research or Qiskit. Open Controls is a key complement to IBM's recently released Qiskit Ignis framework targeting error detection and mitigation, and now provides Q-CTRL's expert capabilities to the quantum developer community.

"The integration between Q-CTRL Open Controls and Qiskit allows scientists and the public to explore alternative, equivalent implementations of circuits that may be more robust to noise. Such research is essential to increase the fidelity of circuits and ultimately, the quality of the results of an application run on a quantum computer. Seeing Open Controls, along with Qiskit Ignis bring this know-how into the open-source community is an exciting and encouraging development," said Dr. Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow, IBM Research.

The techniques in Open Controls can also be analyzed within Q-CTRL's Black Opal and Boulder Opal products, giving users an intuitive feel for how they function through interactive visualizations, and enabling detailed performance with lab-validated tools.

"We're making it easy for everyone to use error-robust controls on their quantum hardware." said Dr. Michael Hush, Lead Quantum Control Engineer at Q-CTRL.

"We want to provide the most comprehensive library available and we can't do it on our own. If you're doing research in quantum control and want to promote your work, or you're just curious as an amateur, give the package a try. It's free and we welcome anyone to contribute."

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