Rigetti Computing seizes market opportunities with release of 9-qubit Novera QPU
Rigetti Computing has announced commercial availability of a 9-qubit quantum processing unit based on its fourth generation Ankaa-class architecture, a move that comes several months after Rigetti reported that it was seeing increased market interest in 9-qubit QPUs.
That observation came from Rigetti CEO Subodh Kulkarni as he discussed Rigetti’s second quarter earnings report on an earnings call back in August. Kulkarni announced on that call that Rigetti had sold a package including a 9-qubit QPU to two national labs (one of which was later identified as Fermilab, the other still unidentified), and that the company expected to see growing interest in similar packages. While Kulkarni declined at that time to provide details about the sale price, pricing for Rigetti’s new 9-qubit Novera QPU announced last week starts at $900,000.
During Rigetti’s third quarter earnings call last month, Kulkarni reiterated that interest in its 9-qubit QPUs was continuing to grow.
“The pipeline continues to build,” he said in early November. “We are talking to a number of customers– national labs, university researchers and those types of organizations who have significant interest in getting an on-premise quantum computer.”
He added, “The way we have enabled a nine-qubit quantum computer is that it can be a module that essentially gets plugged into an existing dilution refrigerator, and many national labs and university researchers have already purchased their own dilution refrigerator, so for them it’s a relatively straightforward change to take off some components and put in our quantum computer. It can often be a relatively simple process.”
He also said that Rigetti’s increased focus on improving fidelity was paying off in its 9-qubit QPUs, which he said had achieved “98% 2-qubit fidelity.”
The new Novera QPU, manufactured in Rigetti’s Fab-1 in Fremont, California, is available for shipping in four to six weeks. It features tunable couplers and a square lattice for denser connectivity and fast 2-qubit operations. It includes all of the hardware below the mixing chamber plate (MXC) of a dilution refrigerator, the company said. In addition to a 9-qubit chip with a 3×3 array of tunable transmons, the Novera QPU also includes a 5-qubit chip with no tunable couplers or qubit-qubit coupling which can be used for developing and characterizing single-qubit operations on a simpler circuit. In addition to the 9-qubit and 5-qubit chips, Novera QPU components include:
- A puck that contains both the 9-qubit and 5-qubit chips, interposers and a PCB to route signals to SMPM connectors at the puck periphery.
- A tower that hangs from the MXC and connects coaxial cables between the puck and the SMA patch panel. The tower delivers cooling power from the MXC to the chips.
- Shields that surround the tower to isolate the puck from infrared radiation and stray magnetic fields.
- Payload brackets and a signal chain installed around the tower with mounted signal conditioning devices, including ferrite isolators, diplexers, filters, and optional quantum-limited amplifiers.
Fundamental research to gain a better understanding of how qubits operate, how to optimize control systems, testing how to design and characterize gates, ways to mitigate decoherence, and how to develop more efficient quantum algorithms are among the key focus areas for building higher quality quantum computers.
“With the launch of the Novera QPU, quantum computing professionals and students can now have on-premise access to years of Rigetti’s internal R&D within a matter of weeks. Rigetti has been pioneering full-stack quantum computing technology for 10 years. This is an exciting moment for us to equip the quantum computing ecosystem with the same caliber of hardware and engineering that we use on our most powerful QPUs,” says David Rivas, Rigetti CTO.
The Rigetti Novera QPU implements universal, gate-based quantum computing and can be used by quantum software and algorithm experts to prototype and test: (1) hybrid quantum algorithms, (2) characterization, calibration, and error mitigation, and (3) quantum error correction (QEC) experiments.
Additionally, organizations looking to develop components of their quantum computing stack can leverage theRigetti Novera QPU to accelerate areas such as: (1) control electronics and software, (2) QEC decoders, (3) control optimization algorithms, (3) native gate architectures, and (4) measurement and calibration, and accompanying software.
Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.