At Q-CTRL we’ve had a great week. Our collaboration with IBM was announced last Thursday at the inaugural IBM Q Summit Silicon Valley in Menlo Park, California.
In case you missed the news, we are now one of just eight start-up companies worldwide to have joined the IBM Q Network, giving us unprecedented access to one of the world’s most advanced quantum computing platforms.
It also means that our company, not even six months old, is now connected with a global network of technologists collaborating on the development of a new quantum industry.
Our CEO and founder, Professor Michael J. Biercuk, was at the IBM Q Summit alongside other start-up founders, venture capitalist investors and some of the fantastic researchers working at IBM like the manager of experimental quantum computing, Jerry Chow and the director of research at IBM Almaden, Jeff Wesler.
From the start, IBM sought to put its quantum platform on the cloud. In 2016 it launched its IBM Q Experience, allowing anyone to sign up and access its then five-qubit device. Since May last year, that access expanded to a 16-qubit computer.
IBM is now scaling up to 20- and 50-qubit quantum machines.
“By teaming up with IBM, Q-CTRL gains direct access to the company’s most advanced devices and has an opportunity to help solve some of quantum computing’s most vexing challenges,” Professor Biercuk said.
This represents a democratization of quantum computing, which is essential to building a robust, dynamic technological and economic community. Q-CTRL is able to leverage our founder’s specialty quantum control laboratory at The University of Sydney. But most companies and independent developers don’t have that capability.
Speaking to Gizmodo’s Ryan Mandelbaum during the IBM Q Summit, Professor Biercuk said: “Democratized access to real quantum-coherent hardware via IBM Q is a major change in our field that may help the broader community really find the killer app for quantum computing.”
While we are still in the very early stages of the quantum economy, a parallel is the way the iOS app store completely changed the mobile phone tech industry. It opened up the whole iPhone and Apple application platform to innovation through public access for developers.
For Q-CTRL and our involvement with the IBM Q Network, that is of critical relevance. Our technology is about stabilising quantum systems to allow both hardware manufacturers as well as other start-ups to expand the application space of quantum computers.
This will let companies not just build a killer app, but start to explore the frontiers of what is possible with quantum technology.
We were the only start-up to join IBM’s Q Network last week that is dedicated to the control of quantum hardware. As we said at the time, our technologies are already validated through the work we have done at our ion-trapping laboratory.
Through IBM’s Q Network - based on superconducting transmon qubits - we can expand our efforts to test our firmware concepts on a totally different kind of hardware.
The fact that we were one of eight start-ups worldwide to join the IBM Q Network is a great recognition of the fundamental work we’ve put in to get here. But for us, it’s just the start.
Sure, things have been great for us this week, but they have been even better for our Lead Quantum Control Engineer, Dr Michael Hush.
While we’ve been a bit distracted by all things IBM, Michael has had much more important business at hand and gone and tied the knot. We couldn’t be more pleased for him and his husband Kieran. May they exist in a blissful state of entanglement together.