Sydney quantum start-up Q-Ctrl joins IBM’s Q Network

Will get to experiment with IBM's quantum computers

Sydney quantum technology company Q-Ctrl will be given cloud-based access to IBM’s quantum computers, as one of only eight start-ups globally to be invited to join Big Blue’s ‘Q Network’.

Q-Ctrl was launched in November by University of Sydney Professor Michael Biercuk, the first spin-off company of the Australia Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS). It is backed by capital from the CSIRO Innovation Fund managed by Main Sequence Ventures, and Horizons Ventures.

It’s core product – named Black Opal – is described as a hardware-agnostic platform that works on quantum computer bits, or qubits, to reduce decoherence and errors at the physical layer.

Quantum systems are highly susceptible to decoherence, but Q-Ctrl’s suite of controls can stabilise the fragile systems, and “effectively turn back the clock” on decoherence.

“So all the randomisation that occurs, unwinds; it’s like unmixing the soup,” Biercuk told Computerworld in November.

As a member of the Q Network, Q-Ctrl will be able to run experiments on IBM’s quantum computers and collaborate with IBM researchers.

“Working with IBM is a logical step for Q-Ctrl to develop real solutions to one of the hardest problems in quantum computing - dealing with hardware error,” Biercuk said in a statement today.

“As IBM continues to scale-up its quantum computers, we will gain direct access to the company’s most advanced devices and have an opportunity to help solve some of quantum computing’s most vexing challenges. Our techniques are already validated through our academic ion-trapping laboratory. Working with IBM gives us a new opportunity to test these concepts on a totally different kind of quantum computing hardware,” he added.

IBM’s Q Network was launched in December with the company giving access to its 20 qubit quantum computer to 12 clients including the University of Melbourne.

Among the eight start-ups named as members of the network at an event in Silicon Valley today was Adelaide start-up QxBranch which develops custom software for quantum computers.

Biercuk said he expected membership of the network would "lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship of mutual benefit".

Director of IBM Research Jeff Welser said the world was approaching “the dawn of the commercial quantum era”.

“Our team couldn’t be more excited to begin working closely with these industry leading startups to explore how quantum computing may address today’s unsolvable problems in industries such as financial services, automotive or chemistry,” he said today.

“We believe that extending our sphere of collaborators to include the startup community will help to rapidly foster growth at all levels of the quantum stack and advance early applications.”


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Tags CSIROIBMquantumquantum computingBig BlueMichael BiercukQ-CtrlEQuSMain Sequence VenturesQ Network

More about AustraliaBig BlueCSIROIBMQQuantumUniversity of MelbourneUniversity of Sydney

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