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Quantum News Briefs October 11: Infleqtion’s Quantum machine learning technology chosen for DARPA’s IMPAQT Program; DoD-funded space project advances non-GPS navigation; UCalgary to provide hands-on quantum computing opportunities with Xanadu, a global leader in quantum computing + MORE

Quantum News Briefs looks at news in the quantum industry.
By Sandra Helsel posted 11 Oct 2023

Quantum News Briefs October 11: Infleqtion’s Quantum machine learning technology chosen for DARPA’s IMPAQT Program; DoD-funded space project advances non-GPS navigation; UCalgary to provide hands-on quantum computing opportunities with Xanadu, a global leader in quantum computing + MORE

Infleqtion’s Quantum machine learning technology chosen for DARPA’s IMPAQT Program

Infleqtion announced on October 10 that it has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a project under the Imagining Practical Applications for a Quantum Tomorrow (IMPAQT) program. The project aims to advance the state-of-the-art in quantum algorithms for generative machine learning. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the announcement.

The IMPAQT program is propelled by advancements in quantum information processing, including Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) devices, surpassing 100 qubits in multiple platforms. DARPA’s exploration of hybrid quantum/classical computational systems highlights the potential for fundamentally different computational approaches in tackling complex problems. Infleqtion’s approach capitalizes on the unique capabilities of quantum computers to build efficient models of genomic sequence data, paving the way towards further advancements in genomics data analysis and personalized medicine.

Looking beyond genomics data, many other data sets, including natural language and financial data, similarly exhibit long-range correlations. Such a wide range of possible application domains highlights the potential impact of quantum machine learning models for efficient sequence data analysis. Infleqtion aims to accelerate the timeline to valuable applications of these models by co-designing the algorithm implementation with the underlying quantum hardware, maximizing the problem sizes that can be solved with a given set of quantum resources.  Click here to read the announcement in-entirety.

DoD-funded space project advances non-GPS navigation

Vector Atomic, a California-based startup, worked with Honeywell Aerospace to produce a cutting-edge navigation sensor that uses an atomic clock to take precise measurements without relying on GPS. Quantum News Briefs summarizes.
The atomic sensor, funded by the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit, was delivered in August and is awaiting a ride to space, according to Vector Atomic’s CEO Jamil Abo-Shaeer. The company in 2020 was selected by DIU to build an atomic sensor — a device that exploits the quantum properties of atoms to make very precise measurements — that could survive the rigors of space.
Lt. Col. Nicholas Estep, program manager at DIU, said he could not discuss the specifics of the space mission that will fly Vector Atomic’s sensor, or the projected date for the launch.
The recent delivery of the quantum sensor marks a “compelling milestone for the quantum sensing community,” he told SpaceNews. “Atomic clocks have been flying on GPS for a long time, but other than atomic clocks, other forms of quantum sensing have not materialized outside the lab.”
Abo-Shaeer, a former project manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, co-founded Vector Atomic in 2018 with the goal of fielding and commercializing atomic instruments.
Abo-Shaeer said Vector Atomic has no venture capital funding. After winning the DIU contract that provided about $10 million in government funds, the company partnered with Honeywell to build an atomic inertial navigation sensor, qualify it for space flight and integrate it with a satellite bus.
Atomic sensors that use atomic clocks are more precise but they’ve only been tested in laboratories and are very fragile, he said. DIU’s project is about figuring out if these devices can be made robust enough for deployment in real-world systems.
And the best way to answer that, said Abo-Shaeer, is to send one of these sensors into the harshest environment, which is outer space, after putting it through the rigors of space launch. Click here to read the Space News article in-entirety.

UCalgary to provide hands-on quantum computing opportunities with Xanadu, a global leader in quantum computing

The University of Calgary and Xanadu have announce a new partnership to provide educational materials and support for UCalgary’s thriving quantum ecosystem. Through this partnership, UCalgary and Xanadu aim to help students become confident and quantum-ready professionals prepared to contribute to Canada’s growing quantum workforce. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the October 10 announcement.
UCalgary stands out for its entrepreneurial approach to quantum research and development, fostering student empowerment through leadership and participation in initiatives like the Institute for Quantum Science and Technology (IQST), Quantum City, and the Quantum Horizons Alberta initiative.
Moreover, the Faculty of Science is set to launch the Professional Master of Quantum Computing program in January 2024. This program is designed to provide students with the skills to understand and support quantum computing systems in practical settings, as well as gain practical experience through use cases and experiential learning.
To ensure students enrolled in the Professional Master of Quantum Computing program have access to cutting-edge quantum hardware and software, UCalgary has selected Xanadu, a Toronto-based company, as its inaugural official partner for support. Together, UCalgary and Xanadu will advance quantum computing education by integrating hands-on learning resources developed by Xanadu into existing courses at UCalgary.
This collaboration aims to generate a pipeline of highly skilled professionals in quantum computing. An illustration of this collaborative partnership in action can be seen in Xanadu’s participation in the upcoming qConnect 2023, which is co-hosted by Quantum City in November and focuses on connecting quantum creators and users. Click here to read the announcement in-entirety.

MIT’s new fluxonium qubit circuit enables quantum operations with unprecedented accuracy

MIT scientists demonstrated a novel superconducting qubit architecture that can perform operations between qubits — the building blocks of a quantum computer — with much greater accuracy than scientists have previously been able to achieve, as per an October 2 ScienceDaily article summarized here by Quantum News Briefs.
MIT researchers are utilizing a relatively new type of superconducting qubit, known as fluxonium, which can have a lifespan that is much longer than more commonly used superconducting qubits. Their architecture involves a special coupling element between two fluxonium qubits that enables them to perform logical operations, known as gates, in a highly accurate manner. It suppresses a type of unwanted background interaction that can introduce errors into quantum operations.
This approach enabled two-qubit gates that exceeded 99.9 percent accuracy and single-qubit gates with 99.99 percent accuracy. In addition, the researchers implemented this architecture on a chip using an extensible fabrication process.
“Building a large-scale quantum computer starts with robust qubits and gates. We showed a highly promising two-qubit system and laid out its many advantages for scaling. Our next step is to increase the number of qubits,” says Leon Ding PhD ’23, who was a physics graduate student in the Engineering Quantum Systems (EQuS) group and is the lead author of a paper on this architecture.
For more than a decade, researchers have primarily used transmon qubits in their efforts to build quantum computers. Another type of superconducting qubit, known as a fluxonium qubit, originated more recently. Fluxonium qubits have been shown to have longer lifespans, or coherence times, than transmon qubits. Click here to read the SciTechDaily article in-entirety.

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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