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Quantum News Briefs July 25: PASQAL announces hackathon dedicated to sustainability solutions: The Blaise Pascal [re]Generative Quantum Challenge; Silicon Quantum Computing Raises $50.4M; QCI launches  first-in-a-series Quantum Photonic Vibrometer;

Quantum News Briefs looks at news in the quantum industry.
By Sandra Helsel posted 25 Jul 2023

Quantum News Briefs July 25:

PASQAL announces hackathon dedicated to sustainability solutions: The Blaise Pascal [re]Generative Quantum Challenge

To honor the 400th anniversary of the birth of French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, the quantum computing company PASQAL has  announced a hackathon dedicated to generating ideas for quantum-based solutions that can accelerate the sustainable energy transition: The Blaise Pascal [re]Generative Quantum Challenge. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the July 24 announcement.
Launched in partnership with Blaise Pascal Advisors, the hackathon will be held from October to November this year. With this challenge PASQAL wants to bring together the best students, researchers and trailblazers to take part in an innovation competition with €50,000 in prizes. Registration is open now.
In the challenge participants can prove that scientific and technical innovation based on quantum technologies can provide large-scale energy solutions today. They will be asked to identify a use case related to environmental, social, human, or economic issues, and find a sustainable solution through quantum computing to solve it.
Use cases can range from health (e.g., anticipating epidemic spread and virus transmission scenarios or supporting drug discovery by improving protein scoring functions) to industry (e.g., designing a new aircraft/car chassis using the minimum amount of material needed for maximum strength and safety) to AI (e.g., training AI with low energy cost).
The hackathon’s challenge is to prove that scientific and technical innovation based on quantum technologies can provide large-scale energy solutions today.
The €50,000 in prizes will be allocated via the following categories:
First phase: 50 shortlisted projects – The first 5 will receive a prize of €1,000
Second phase: 20 pre-selected projects – Top 5: €1,000 per project
Third phase: 10 finalists – €1,000 per finalist
Final phase: 3 final winners – €15,000 for the first prize / €10,000 for the second prize / €5,000 for the third prize.
Pre-registration will be open from July 20, 2023 leading up to the hackathon on October 5, 2023. The competition will end on November 15, 2023 with an “online demo day.” This will be followed by a unifying awards event on November 28, 2023 during which speeches, conferences and round tables will also take place on the legacy of Pascal, tech entrepreneurs, AI, and quantum, all at the service of the common good. Click here to read original announcement.

Silicon Quantum Computing Raises $50.4M  after setting out to raise $130 M

Startup Daily recently reported on Silicon Quantum Computing’s $50.4 million investment after it had set out to raise $130 million. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the July 15 report.
The deal took 13 months from when it was first announced. The raise was backed by existing investors the Australian government, Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank and University of NSW.
The deal took 13 months from when it was first announced.  The raise was backed by existing investors the Australian government, Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank and University of NSW.
SQC launched in May 2017, and operates out of laboratories at UNSW. The quantum startup was founded by physicist Michelle Simmons and 12 months ago announced it had developed the world’s first integrated circuit manufactured at the atomic scale. The circuit, which operates as an analogue quantum processor, gives SQC the ability construct quantum models for a range of new materials, including pharmaceuticals, materials for batteries, and catalysts. SQC is also developing a ‘full stack’ quantum computer. The startup has now merged three different atomic-scale assets simultaneously in a breakthrough that creates a distinctive solid-state quantum microscope to map qubit wave functions, enabling them to realise optimal device designs to create programmable quantum processors.
Six years ago it raised $83 million in a Seed round from UNSW, Telstra, CBA, and Australian and NSW governments. The federal government has around a one-third stake, having now invested around $40 million, including $25 million in 2017.  Cick here to read original article in StartupDaily in-entirety.

Quantum Computing Inc. launches  first-in-a-series Quantum Photonic Vibrometer

Quantum Computing Inc. recently announced the release of its first-in-a-series Quantum Photonic Vibrometer (QPV), a proprietary, powerful instrument for remote vibration detection, sensing, and inspection.  This device is the first quantum accelerated photonics vibrometer available in the market today and offers significant advancements in sensitivity, speed, and resolution, capable of discerning for the first time, highly obscured and non-line-of-sight objects.  Quantum News Briefs summarizes.
Military and commercial applications are numerous in the areas of material recognition, enhanced surveillance, infrastructure integrity and preventive industrial maintenance – all at safe distances and requiring minimal energy/optical power.
The Quantum Photonic Vibrometer is a proprietary, first of its kind system to leverage the power of single-photon detection—as perfected by QCI quantum efforts—to offer significant benefits over current vibrometer systems and applications available today. The first version of the QPV measures the vibration frequency of a remote target by utilizing fast-gated single photon counting to directly detect returning photons whose wavefunctions are dynamically modulated as they are reflected off the target. This is in contrast to optical coherence tomograph or related methods, where a local reference beam and optical interference measurement is needed, thus unable to reach single photon sensitivity. The QPV eliminates background noise and isolates the specific characteristics of a target object, enables the system to interrogate the material properties of a target at various depths and can provide both surface characteristics as well as volumetric information. Also, counting photons at a megahertz rate, important properties such as material composition and mechanical integrity can be determined within seconds and, depending on detection distance, with microwatt to milliwatt optical power.  The QPV can remotely sense through obscured media or around the corner where there is no line of sight, implying new capabilities in remote sensing, voice recognition, and ex vivo diagnostics.
The QPV is much faster and more sensitive than other vibrometers currently available.  The level of information accuracy and detail can advance military, commercial and humanitarian applications in several known challenged areas today, including remote landmine detection, audio surveillance and remote voice retrieval, archeological mapping, material recognition from specific metals to plastics, metal fatigue and structural integrity of bridges, buildings, power plants, airplanes, and transportation fleets. Click here to read July 19 announcement in-entirety

Unleashing the power of quantum computing: The imperative for application research

Julian van Velzen CTO & Head of Capgemini’s Quantum Lab is the author of the July 17 Forbes article cautioning, “Without dedicated research into practical applications, we risk having powerful quantum computers sitting idle while companies are still unprepared to adopt them.” Quantum News Briefs summarizes.
van Velzen explains, “To make quantum computers useful, despite all their limitations, we must emphasize the criticality of extensive application research. Applied research goes beyond developing isolated quantum algorithms. It focuses on identifying applications that can genuinely benefit from a quantum approach and integrating quantum technologies into existing computational workflows. Note that this will not be easy. It must deal with complex matters in an interdisciplinary environment of quantum information scientists, domain knowledge experts and business owners. It must deal with the limits of today’s quantum computers while building tomorrow’s applications, all with uncertain specifications and timelines.”
Given the steep and interdisciplinary learning curve, companies should expect several years before becoming quantum-ready. However, with the high pace of current developments, that time might be now. Benefits go beyond capability and knowledge development, too. Essential technologies must be developed to integrate quantum computing into workflows. Additionally, application research serves as a compass for the quantum industry. By understanding the computational requirements companies face, they can influence the direction of research and guarantee systems support industry requirements.
van Velzen closes with: There is urgent need for dedicated teams comprised of chemists, material scientists and computational experts to bridge the gap between theoretical advancements and practical applications. If we want to prevent the transformative power of quantum computing from going unused while companies are still getting ready, then initiating application research today is key. Click here to read entire article.

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.


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