(FinancialTimes) Riverlane, a Cambridge university spinout has completed a successful trial of a quantum “universal operating system” months after receiving a £7.6m grant to install it across the UK’s quantum computers. Officials are hopeful that the Deltaflow.OS, created by Riverlane, a quantum software company, and tested in partnership with Oxford Ionics, could open up a quantum software market and establish the UK’s standing in the technology by creating a single system that can be used across a range of quantum computers. “We have solved a really important problem in quantum computing: how hardware and software interact whilst teasing the highest possible performance out of a quantum computer,” said Riverlane chief executive Steve Brierley.
Potential use cases for the new operating system include in quantum finance and quantum chemistry, which make use of “hybrid” algorithms combining quantum and classical computing. “You need a quick feedback loop with these systems to correct any errors,” said Leonie Mueck, chief product officer at Riverlane. Mr Ballance said the universal nature of Deltaflow also meant that software developers would be able to write applications for different types of quantum hardware, which would open up the quantum space to greater competition.
Christopher Ballance, chief scientist and co-founder of quantum hardware company Oxford Ionics, also said that many current “full-stack” quantum computers, fully designed by a single company, were opaque “black boxes” for external users. “That’s fine for simple programs but as soon as you start developing more complicated ones, you want to know what’s inside,” he added. “What we’ve managed to demonstrate is that our operating system can talk to quantum hardware and that it is portable across different technologies,” said Mueck.