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Zurich Instruments provides control systems tech to Atlantic Quantum

By Dan O'Shea posted 06 Mar 2023

Zurich Instruments announced that it will provide quantum computing control systems (QCCS) for Atlantic Quantum, a start-up that was spun out from MIT’s Quantum Lab last year to build quantum computers using superconducting qubits.

Atlantic Quantum was last heard from in the summer of 2022 when it landed a $9 million seed funding round. Meanwhile, Zurich Instruments had a busy 2022, introducing a new software framework last fall, and prior to that a pump controller supporting the parametric amplification process.

In its initial project with Atlantic Quantum, the latter will leverage Zurich Instruments’ QCCS, a scalable system solution encompassing both electronics and software for quantum processor control. The control system is a key component of a quantum computer linking the sensitive qubits with the higher-level software stack, Zurich Instruments explained in a press release.

On-site installation and operation for its Boston area customer will be supported by Zurich Instruments’ own Boston-based team.

“Zurich Instruments is a great fit for an ambitious quantum start-up like us,” Dr. Bharath Kannan, co-founder and CEO of Atlantic Quantum. “Our mutual goal of advancing the hardware infrastructure required for quantum computers to tackle real-world challenges further strengthens this partnership.” 

Atlantic Quantum follows a philosophy of advancing qubit quality metrics prior to scaling qubit numbers. Employing new types of noise-protected qubits, the company expects to achieve longer coherence times than with conventional approaches. This aspiration reflects on the requirements of the control system, as its specifications and noise performance must allow the quantum devices to operate at their best possible performance. In particular, the control channels of the QCCS, which are needed to transmit quantum computing algorithms to the quantum processor, fit well to the fluxonium qubit type employed by Atlantic Quantum, the companies said. 

“While the QCCS offers the flexibility we need to test our current-generation devices, looking ahead we find that Zurich Instruments has a credible plan for scaling up their control system to quantum processors with hundreds of qubits” says Dr. Simon Gustavsson, co-founder and CTO of Atlantic Quantum.

It’s worth noting that both companies operate on both sides of the Atlantic. Zurich Instruments has been partners with Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, in the framework of the OpenSuperQ project since 2018. Meanwhile, Atlantic Quantum maintains close links with the European quantum computing ecosystem through its European operations in Gothenburg, with roots at Chalmers. 

“I’m happy to count on a strong team in our US office, ready to dive deep into technical challenges with the world-leading quantum computing experts at AQ. This collaboration will deepen our understanding of the customer’s needs and help us improve our products” says Vikrant Mahajan, VP Sales and Operations at Zurich Instruments USA.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

Categories: quantum computing

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