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The race to construct quantum computer systems that can provide meaningful improvements to enterprises is accelerating. Among these top the charge is a French startup that believes it has located a way to attain the scale and energy to make quantum computing beneficial.
Founded in 2019, Pasqal is leveraging technologies that was created at the Institut d’Optique in Palaiseau, France and relies on a approach known as “neutral atoms.” According to cofounder and CEO Georges-Olivier Reymond, this approach has permitted the firm to construct processors with up to 200 qubits, inching ever closer to the coveted quantum benefit.
“We have demonstrated that the quantum computing power is here,” Reymond stated. “The next step is to deliver it, which means building devices, developing a quantum-computing-as-a-service offer, and delivering the power on the cloud.”
The firm is the underdog in an increasingly crowded arena that consists of heavyweights such as Google and IBM.
Race to the finish
Last year, for instance, IBM laid out an ambitious quantum roadmap that consists of debuting its 127-qubit IBM Quantum Eagle processor sometime this year and a 1,000 qubit processor by 2023. Startup IonQ announced a new 32-qubit quantum personal computer out there in private beta last October.
So when Pasqal claims to have a 200-qubit processor, that is no tiny point. This progress led to a partnership late last year with Atos, which is incorporating Pasqal’s technologies into its personal quantum computing efforts to accelerate them for use with corporate consumers.
In addition, Reymond stated it has currently sold two quantum processing units to higher-functionality computing centers.
The firm is creating these advances by means of the “natural atoms” approach. In several quantum computer systems, atoms are ionized, which signifies they are charged and tougher to spot in a steady state. Quantum computer systems can use a lot of energy and call for super cool environments to render the atoms in a state exactly where they can approach information.
Using neutral atoms calls for much less power and avoids the need to have for the deep freeze, Reymond stated. The capacity to spot the atoms in many two- and 3-dimensional states is permitting some enterprise consumers to carry out tasks like quantum simulation and optimization.
The firm is now focused on developing quantum computer systems for on-premise consumers, as properly as a cloud-based quantum service that would permit enterprises to commence experimenting with the technologies. IBM has currently been working with a equivalent cloud-based and on-premise method for many years.
To bolster these efforts, the firm has just raised $30.5 million in a round led by Quantonation, a VC firm that focuses on quantum, and the Defense Innovation Fund managed by French state bank Bpifrance. Other participants in the round incorporated Runa Capital, Daphni, and Eni Next. The European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund had also previously announced it would back Pasqal.
While there has been a robust debate about whether or not the surge in funding for quantum startups is warranted — and just when the technologies will genuinely provide — Reymond stated the excitement is justified.
“I believe it’s realistic,” he stated. “Twenty years ago, I would never have imagined creating a company like Pasqal. Now it’s here. I can see all the progress everywhere. It really makes me confident.”