- Error correction is the single greatest challenge to unlock quantum’s full potential
- Innovate UK providing £500k initial funding per its mission to fund ‘disruptive and game changing R&D’
- Project will specifically focus on ‘syndrome extraction’, a crucial step in solving the error correction problem
Cambridge, UK; Berkeley, CA, USA (27 June 2022) – Riverlane, the quantum engineering company building the world’s first operating system for error corrected quantum computing, and Rigetti, a pioneer in hybrid quantum-classical computing, today announce a partnership backed by Innovate UK to tackle syndrome extraction on superconducting quantum computers.
Syndrome extraction is a crucial step in quantum error correction, the greatest challenge to be solved to develop useful quantum computers that can process more data with far greater accuracy than is possible today. Useful quantum computers can unlock previously impossible scientific possibilities and transform a range of vital industries, including healthcare, sustainable energy and advanced materials.
Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, that mirror the true quantum mechanical complexity of the subatomic world in a way that classical computers simply can’t. But qubits are by their nature unstable due to high sensitivity to disturbance from the external environment and thus prone to data errors. Applying error correction techniques means measuring qubits’ status and correcting possible errors at unprecedented speed and volume. The challenge is exacerbated because these steps can also introduce further errors.
Quantum mechanics forbids direct measurement of the main qubits doing the actual computation as this would destroy the information they carry. Error correction techniques thus use additional qubits, called ‘syndrome qubits’, and measure their status, called syndromes, to infer the occurrence of errors on the main qubits. Riverlane and Rigetti will work together to minimize the errors introduced during syndrome extraction on a top-class superconducting quantum computer.
“Some problems are quantum mechanical in nature so can only be solved by using a quantum computer. Quantum computers thus offer an opportunity to progress science in many fields from an Age of Discovery through extensive trial and error to an Age of Design where all possibilities can be simulated. Error correction is one of the keys to unlocking this future. We’re delighted to partner with Rigetti, and hungry to solve error correction for the entire industry,” said Steve Brierley, founder and CEO of Riverlane.
“Tackling error correction requires partners who understand the full quantum stack. We are excited to combine our quantum hardware knowledge with Riverlane’s software capabilities to solve this critical challenge and accelerate the quantum computing industry’s progress,” said Chad Rigetti, founder and CEO of Rigetti Computing.
“Thorny issues can only be addressed through collaboration and in the case of error correction the need is for those who truly understand the physics at the heart of a quantum computer to work intimately with those with the knowledge of applications and software. Riverlane and Rigetti not only have the requisite expertise to take on such a challenge but together make a formidable team,” said Roger Mckinlay, Challenge Director for Quantum Technologies of UK Research and Innovation.
Note to Editors:
About Syndrome Extraction
Implementing quantum error correction protocols is one of the most fundamental and difficult challenges in building a scalable and reliable quantum computer. Information can be protected by encoding it in multiple data qubits, but if directly measured, qubits will lose the information they carry. Thus, auxiliary qubits entangled to the data qubits are added to the error correction scheme. Measurements of their status, called syndromes, can be decoded to infer the occurrence of errors, and correct the computation.
However, syndrome extraction is also performed using quantum circuits that can introduce errors. Finding strategies to perform syndrome extraction in a fault-tolerant way and ensuring that potential errors do not destroy the result of the circuit, is a complex challenge by itself, and a crucial building block towards error-corrected quantum computers. The project will solve this problem by developing new quantum algorithms and implementing them on a top-class superconducting quantum computer.
Riverlane’s mission is to make quantum computing useful far sooner than previously imaginable, starting an era of human progress as significant as the industrial and digital revolutions. To fully unlock the massive potential of quantum computing, we need a circa 10,000x increase in the size and reliability of quantum computers. We play a key role in achieving this by building Deltaflow.OS – the operating system for error-corrected quantum computers. This starts with breaking through the biggest barrier to quantum computing today: quantum error correction. Doing so can accelerate the development of useful, fault tolerant, commercially viable quantum computers by up to a decade. Being hardware obsessed and commercially driven means we work closely with leading quantum hardware companies representing every qubit technology. We’re backed by venture capital funding from Molten Ventures, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and the University of Cambridge.
Rigetti Computing is a pioneer in full-stack quantum computing. The company has operated quantum computers over the cloud since 2017 and serves global enterprise, government, and research clients through its Rigetti Quantum Cloud Services platform. The company’s proprietary quantum-classical infrastructure provides ultra-low latency integration with public and private clouds for high-performance practical quantum computing. Rigetti has developed the industry’s first multi-chip quantum processor for scalable quantum computing systems. The company designs and manufactures its chips in-house at Fab-1, the industry’s first dedicated and integrated quantum device manufacturing facility. Rigetti was founded in 2013 by Chad Rigetti and today employs more than 140 people with offices in the United States, U.K., and Australia.
Rigetti Computing announced in October it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Supernova Partners Acquisition Company II, Ltd. (“Supernova II”) (NYSE:SNII), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company. When the transaction closes, the publicly traded company will be named Rigetti Computing, Inc. and its common stock is expected to be listed on the NYSE under the ticker “RGTI.” Learn more at www.rigetti.com.