Quantum News Briefs April 7: Amazon & DeBeers’ Element Six division”growing’ diamonds to use in quantum networks, Tencent’s backing of Singapore’s Horizon Quantum Computing in $18M round; Zapata Computing earns new patent for technique to unlock value from early fault-tolerant quantum computers + MORE
Quantum News Briefs April 7: Amazon & DeBeers’ Element Six division”growing’ diamonds to use in quantum networks, Tencent’s backing of Singapore’s Horizon Quantum Computing in $18M round; Zapata Computing earns new patent for technique to unlock value from early fault-tolerant quantum computers + MORE.
Amazon & DeBeers’ Element Six division”growing’ diamonds to use in quantum networks
Amazon is working in conjunction with diamond miners De Beers in order to develop diamonds under laboratory conditions to improve the speeds of quantum computing and networking according to April 6 Tech Radar by Lewis Maddison.
The project will be overseen by the tech giant’s Center for Quantum Networking, part of its AWS cloud service.
De Beers’ Element Six division will be ‘growing’ the diamonds in the hope of improving the speeds and reliability of quantum networking. The diamonds will be used to make signal repeaters to relay the information stored in qubits through networks. Element Six will be using a process called chemical vapor disposition (CVS) to deliberately produce diamonds with impurities that form around them. It is these impurities that are then harvested and used in the fabrication of the repeaters.
Due to diamonds’ hardness, they allow for more stable transmission than traditional repeaters, which are not stable enough given the sensitivity of quantum systems to disturbances and interference.
It is this sensitivity, though, that actually makes quantum networks safer, at least in theory. The mere act of observing the photons that carry the data in fiber optic cables through the network alter their state, which means a network operator can instantly tell from the interference that they have been breached.
Element Six will produce 2 million of these diamond components a year. If successful, the project could represent a breakthrough for quantum networking, which is being held back due to the insufficiency of current repeater technology. Click here to read TechRadar article in-entirety.
Tencent’s backing of Singapore’s Horizon Quantum Computing in $18M round
Horizon Quantum Computing recently picked up $18.1 million in a Series A round from Tencent along with other investors, boosting its equity financing to around $21.3 million. Quantum News Briefs summarizes a recent TechCrunch+ article by Rita Liao in which she interviews Tencent’s representative Ling Ge and explains the value of a politically neutral country.
While Singapore is more widely known as a financial hub, it has also been one of the most proactive governments in supporting quantum technologies. The Center for Quantum Technologies, where Horizon Quantum Computing’s founder and CEO Joe Fitzsimons used to be a professor, was set up under the city-state’s Research Centres of Excellence program to advance research in the cutting-edge field.
Ling Ge, Tencent’s chief representative in Europe and the person who oversaw the deal with Horizon Quantum Computing, has known Fitzsimons since her years in Oxford, where she studied quantum computing.
Being in a politically neutral country like Singapore is increasingly important in a world where businesses become caught in the tech war between the U.S. and China and lose access to supply chains. Launching from a neutral home base is now seen as a prerequisite for many tech firms, including quantum computer builders, who rely on components sourced from around the world.
Tencent’s investment in Horizon Quantum Computing is purely financial, so it won’t entail any transfer of sensitive data, the founder noted. The startup took Tencent’s investment because the giant is an “expert” in the area, Fitzsimons said.
Tencent’s Ge explained, “In terms of investments, we take a science-driven approach. One of the challenges in investing in quantum is what we call the ‘black box’ paradox. The challenge of evaluating early-stage deep tech companies in areas like quantum, nuclear fusion or biotech is difficult because the core technology is in its early proof-of-concept phase. It is hard to evaluate and understand at what stage of maturity it really is.
“Therefore, we take appropriate steps to mitigate the risks of this black box paradox depending on the investment stage. This is primarily achieved through our deep technical expertise, which allows us to really understand what is being developed and its maturity,” Ge explained. Click here to read TechCrunch+ article in-entirety.
Related: Read Quantum News Briefs April 3 coverage of Horizon Quantum Computing raises USD 18.1 million Series A to advance quantum software development
Zapata Computing earns new patent for technique to unlock value from early fault-tolerant quantum computers
Zapata Computing, announced April 6 that the company has earned a patent for Robust Amplitude Estimation (RAE). RAE reduces the runtime and resources required for the estimation subroutine, currently a bottleneck in many industrially relevant quantum algorithms. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the announcement,.
It is the latest patent granted in Zapata’s industry-leading portfolio of 49 patent families, including proprietary techniques in optimization, generative modeling, and post-quantum cybersecurity.
“At Zapata, we’re focused on building a bridge to the quantum future for our customers, and everything in our patent portfolio reflects that,” said CEO and Co-founder Christopher Savoie. “This includes near-term quantum-inspired techniques, for example in generative AI, that can deliver value on today’s classical devices, while being compatible with the quantum devices of the future. It also includes techniques like RAE that bring that quantum future closer and position our customers to gain an advantage with quantum hardware as it matures.”
Quantum algorithms such as the Variational Quantum Eigensolver (VQE), which Zapata Co-founder Alán Aspuru-Guzik co-invented, are currently not practical due to a prohibitive number of measurements required for the estimation subroutine, making them too slow to outperform classical supercomputers. In contrast, RAE reduces the measurement number and runtime compared to the standard sampling method for the estimation subroutine, with enterprise applications in chemistry, materials, finance, and beyond.
“When we first published research on RAE in 2019, it was a breakthrough that bridged near-term and far-term quantum computing,” said Peter Johnson, Zapata’s Lead Research Scientist and Co-Founder, who was an author of the initial paper. Subsequent research published with bp that found that RAE could reduce the runtime for VQE — a key algorithm for quantum chemistry — by one to two orders of magnitude. “RAE not only speeds up computations on today’s quantum devices, it accelerates the path to quantum advantage as devices mature.”
QCI Joins the Center for Quantum Technologies
Quantum Computing Inc. (QCI) announced on April 6 that its wholly owned subsidiary, QI Solutions, which focuses on federal projects, is joining the Center for Quantum Technologies (CQT) as a non-traditional defense company that offers a suite of quantum services, ranging from quantum computing to quantum sensing, imaging, and cybersecurity. Quantum News Briefs summarizes.
The Center for Quantum Technologies is a National Science Foundation sponsored initiative with engineers and scientists from Purdue University, Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame, and Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis. These four universities will work with industry members such as Quantum Computing Inc.’s QI Solutions (QIS), the Air Force Research Laboratory, Amazon Web Services, Eli Lilly, Cummins, Toyota, Northrup Grumman, and IBM Quantum to transfer foundational quantum knowledge into novel quantum technologies that address industry and defense challenges. QI Solutions is excited to guide CQT and its partners with a unique portfolio of quantum photonic communications, cryptography, computing, and sensing solutions. QI Solutions will use its expertise in applying these technologies to assist CQT in advancing industry-relevant quantum devices, systems, and algorithms.
“QiSolutions has strategically developed relationships with key partners and academic institutions to align resources to pursue and win federal contract opportunities. QiSolutions will be one of the key quantum technology providers for these partnerships and this alliance sets the foundation to pursue a number of US Government, and DoD work that we expect to be awarded this fiscal year,” commented Sean Gabeler, president of QiSolutions. Click here to read the complete announcement.
Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990. She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.