International Collaboration Will Create a Theoretical Blueprint for a Modular Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computer

Waterloo, Canada, and Cambridge, UK – 27th March, 2024: Nu Quantum, the leading quantum networking company, and SoftwareQ, the leading quantum software company, are collaborating on a project to build the theoretical framework for the first fault-tolerant quantum computer. Sponsored by the UK and Canadian governments, Nu Quantum, led by Dr. Carmen Palacios-Berraquero, and SoftwareQ, Co-founded by Dr. Vlad Gheorghiu and Prof. Michele Mosca, will propose and benchmark practical architectural solutions. 

The motivation for this project is to tackle one of Quantum Computing’s (QC) biggest and most urgent challenges: scaling. In the current macroeconomic climate, the QC industry must be able to chart a clear path to Fault Tolerance and commercial relevance. Any such path will be underpinned by the ability to network QCs. This project will quantify the requirements of a network able to combine multiple small and currently-realisable QC ‘nodes’ into a larger, usable compute platform, and aim to prove the feasibility of a system able to meet those requirements. This work, whilst based on well-understood frameworks, is the first step towards actually building a multi-core, distributed, error-corrected QC paradigm.

Error correction and algorithms with advantage require larger quantum-coherent systems than have been created to date, and quantum data centre networking provides a path to scale complementary to qubit node development. In order to take advantage of a distributed quantum computer, the compiler stack must be aware of the nature of high fidelity, long-range entanglement.

Working together, Nu Quantum and SoftwareQ are using hardware-software codesign techniques to integrate SoftwareQ’s advanced compiler technology into the real-time firmware of Nu Quantum’s control system. This allows us to build an architecture that takes maximum advantage of every qubit and link available in a computer, as soon as it becomes ready, accelerating progress towards useful quantum computing. The project will produce artefacts that quantify the impact of e.g. 

  • Different network topologies (graphs)
  • System scale (qubits-per-node; number of nodes)
  • Network performance (rate; loss)
  • Applied Error Correction scheme(s)

It will also identify the most promising architecture(s) and set real-world performance targets for systems that can first provide experimental proof-of-concept, and then be further exploited towards instantiating a Fault Tolerant Quantum Computer.

Project Quarrefour was made possible through a joint program between the UK and Canadian governments. For Nu Quantum, the funding entity was Innovate UK under the competition ‘Canada UK Commercialising Quantum Technology Programme: CR&D’; for softwareQ, the funding entity was National Research Council of Canada through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

Dr. Vlad Gheorghiu, CEO and Co-founder of sofwareQ, said: “In partnering with Nu Quantum, we are not only forging a powerful collaboration between two pioneering entities but also fostering stronger ties between Canada and the UK in the realm of quantum computing. Through our joint efforts, we aim to push the boundaries of quantum compiling, scalability, and fault-tolerance, unlocking new possibilities and paving the way for transformative applications. We are delighted to collaborate with Nu Quantum on this ambitious project.” 

Professor Michele Mosca, Director and Co-founder of softwareQ and Co-Founder of Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Nu Quantum to tackle the most significant challenge facing the Quantum Computing community: that of scaling systems towards a fault tolerant era. The complementary strengths of softwareQ’s expertise in quantum circuit optimization, and quantum compilers combined with Nu Quantum’s unique, modular quantum networking hardware provide a credible path to a highly efficient error correction architecture. This can accelerate the availability of valuable quantum computing services and is usefully agnostic to different hardware modalities.”

Dr. Carmen Palacios-Berraquero, Founder and CEO at Nu Quantum, said: “Nu Quantum is on a path towards a solution for modular networking and high-performance entanglement. This collaboration with softwareQ will help guide future development work towards architecting and building a fault tolerant networked quantum computer. We’re thrilled to be working on such an ambitious project with an outstanding partner.”

Sam Johnson, Head of Quantum Technologies at Innovate UK, said: “The UK and Canada are at the forefront of commercialising quantum technologies. We launched this funding programme to build strong industrial relationships and leverage our mutual strengths to accelerate quantum technologies to market. The Quarrefour project is a great example of what we’re trying to achieve and we are delighted to be enabling this journey.”

From left to right: Dr. Michele Mosca - Head of Quantum Algorithms_SoftwareQ, Coral Westoby - Senior Control Engineer_Nu Quantum, Edward Wood - VP Product_Nu Quantum, Dr. Vlad Gheorghiu - CEO and President_SoftwareQ, Dr. Andrew Jena - Quantum Software Engineer_SoftwareQ. Photo credits: Dr. James Lambert_SoftwareQ


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