SG startups tapped to develop software for quantum computers

Two companies founded by CQT-linked scientists strike partnerships with Rigetti
10 September 2018

Two quantum computing companies in Singapore are among the "visionary startups" announced 7 September as partners of US hardware company Rigetti.

Horizon Quantum Computing and Entropica Labs are both focused on software to take advantage of the power of quantum computers.

Horizon Quantum Computing was founded by CQT Principal Investigator Joseph Fitzsimons, who is also an Assistant Professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design and holds a Fellowship from the National Research Foundation.

"I am delighted to see that Rigetti has also announced our friends at Entropica Labs as a software partner. I think this really highlights the promise of Singapore as a centre in this emerging industry," says Joseph.

Entropica Labs was co-founded by CQT alumni Ewan Munro and Tommaso Demarie. They established the start-up with pre-seed funding from Singapore's Entrepreneur First programme and are now also supported by SG Innovate and the Creative Destruction Lab in Toronto, Canada.

"I am very excited by this partnership, which will provide Entropica with access to some of the world’s most advanced quantum processors. I cannot wait to start experimenting on real-world problems with a 128-qubit device," says Tommaso.

The Singapore based companies are two among 12 companies named as partners by Rigetti. The partnerships were announced by CEO Chad Rigetti at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, where he introduced Rigetti 's new Quantum Cloud Service (QCS).

He said "We're partnering with visionary startups who are building the first generation of practical quantum applications...They will use QCS to develop groundbreaking applications and as a channel to distribute these applications to the broader community, putting even more tools into the hands of developers and researchers."

Rigetti is building quantum computing devices based on superconducting technology. They are in the race with big-name technology firms including IBM and Google to make large-scale quantum computers available.

Picture of Rigetti quantum computer hardwareImage courtesy Rigetti Computing. Photo by Justin Fantl.

The number of qubits alone does not define the power of the computer, but on this measure Rigetti's 19-qubit machine is comparable to the 20 qubit machine IBM is offering to partners. Rigetti has promised to deliver a 128 qubit chip in 2019.

To encourage efforts to put its qubits to good use, Rigetti also announced that it is establishing a 1 million dollar prize, called The Quantum Advantage Prize, for the first team to show a business benefit from using its quantum machines. More details about this competition will be released at the end of October.

For their part, Horizon Quantum Computing and Entropica Labs already have plans for the Rigetti quantum computers.

"Horizon is dedicated to developing programming tools and secure delegation services for quantum computers, and as part of this effort we are delighted to be signing our first hardware partnership with Rigetti. Our tools will ultimately allow people to develop code to run on any quantum hardware. This first partnership secures access to Rigetti’s state of the art quantum processors. Users of Rigetti's cloud platform will be able to directly access our tools as they become available. We look forward to helping grow the quantum computing ecosystem together," says Joseph.

Entropica will address the computational needs of the life sciences, developing tools for genomic analysis and bio informatics. Ewan says: “Exploiting the quantum advantage made possible by improved hardware requires the development of algorithms, tools, and end-user software for computational problems across different domains. This is a very exciting time for quantum technologies, and it is very humbling to have the opportunity to make a difference in important areas like precision medicine.”