Archer joins IBM's quantum computing network

Friday, 15 May, 2020

Archer joins IBM's quantum computing network

Materials technology company Archer has become the first Australian company building a quantum computing chip to join the IBM Q Network — a global community of visionary companies at the forefront of quantum computing. As a result of the agreement, Archer and IBM will seek mutually beneficial collaborative opportunities to advance quantum computing.

Archer is in the process of building its 12CQ quantum computing chip, which is different to other chip types currently being developed as it uses a carbon-based material that has the potential to enable chip operation at room temperature as well as the integration of onboard portable devices. The successful development of the 12CQ chip could potentially overcome low operating temperature limitations of qubits and would represent a breakthrough solution to the widespread use and ownership of quantum computing powered technology.

As an ecosystem partner of the IBM Q Network, Archer will gain access to IBM’s quantum computing expertise and resources to enable a broader hardware ecosystem using Qiskit, IBM’s open-source software development framework. Archer will also have the opportunity to collaborate with other members of the network, to fast-track its own chip development.

“The open-source Qiskit quantum computing framework was designed to be extensible, and to support research beyond IBM Quantum systems,” said Dr Anthony Annunziata, Director of the IBM Q Network. “Our collaboration with Archer will be a great example of the combination of Qiskit’s flexibility, integrating with different quantum hardware to accomplish the goal of enabling practical quantum computing applications.”

Archer CEO Dr Mohammad Choucair added, “We are looking forward to working with the diverse members of the global IBM Q Network, a group of the very best organisations at the forefront of quantum computing.

“Ultimately, we want consumers and businesses to be one of the first beneficiaries of this exciting technology, and now that we are collaborating with IBM, it greatly increases our chances of success.”

The news comes as the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland launches its own project to acquire Finland’s first quantum computer, the development and construction of which will be carried out as an innovation partnership that VTT will be opening up for international tender. The goal is to create a unique ecosystem for the development and application of quantum technology in Finland, in collaboration with companies and universities.

The first phase of the project is seeking to bolster Finland’s ability to design and build quantum computers, and to create a competence base for future applications. This phase will last for about a year and aims to get a minimum five-qubit quantum computer in working order; however, the ultimate goal is a considerably more powerful machine with a larger number of qubits. In total, the project will run in three phases over several years at a cost of around €20–25 million.

“In the future, we’ll encounter challenges that cannot be met using current methods. Quantum computing will play an important role in solving these kinds of problems,” said VTT CEO Antti Vasara. “For example, the quantum computers of the future will be able to accurately model viruses and pharmaceuticals, or design new materials in a way that is impossible with traditional methods.”

Image caption: Archer CEO Dr Mohammad Choucair and Quantum Technology Manager Dr Martin Fuechsle.

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