6 Apr 2020

Our Investment in PsiQuantum: building the world’s first useful quantum computer

The last several decades of incredible technological progress we’ve witnessed have been made possible thanks to an exponential increase in computing power (the famous Moore’s Law). However, as Moore’s Law comes to an end, we fall short tackling today’s new technological frontiers — from synthetic biology to personalised healthcare or AI-driven drug discovery. Taking a classical computing approach would require exponentially higher (read: impossible) compute capability. Quantum computing breaks through these current limitations by taking a fundamentally different approach to solving the large-scale optimisation algorithms that lie at the heart of these problems.

Yet there has yet to be a consensus as to the optimal hardware type for a quantum computer. Each proposed architecture type has different scaling and quality challenges. But a team of the world’s leading quantum computing scientists from the University of Bristol and Imperial College London — Jeremy O’Brien, Terry Rudolph, Mark Thompson and Pete Shadbolt — believed they had the answer.

That’s why Jeremy, Terry, Mark and Pete founded PsiQuantum in 2017 to build the world’s first useful quantum computer using a photonic, or light-based, approach. The company believes that its approach is the only one that will allow the creation of a 1M (physical) qubit quantum computer — the scale where we can tackle practical applications.

Atomico is proud to announce its partnership with PsiQuantum by leading the firm’s latest funding round. Atomico Partner Siraj Khaliq has also joined the PsiQuantum board. At Atomico, we partner with ambitious founders delivering transformational change across every aspect of our society and economy and we believe that quantum computing will be world-changing, enabling technological progress that will address humanity’s most pressing challenges. We also believe that PsiQuantum’s strong team and incredible scientific breakthroughs make them positioned to be that company.

PsiQuantum’s photonics-based, Fault Tolerance approach has many advantages to other approaches. Photons are intrinsically low-noise, do not interact with each other, and do not feel heat. This allows operation at a higher temperature. That also means control electronics can go right on the chip — a requirement for large, error-corrected systems. Qubits can be sent between chips using conventional optical fiber; this is important because no one can build an entire quantum computer on a single chip — so qubits need to be able to travel between chips. Finally — photonics-based quantum has a path to manufacturability — in existing chip fab processes.

We are excited by the exponential impact of a useful quantum computer with 1M qubits on the world we live in, and we’re excited to join the PsiQuantum team on their journey.

Read more on Bloomberg: Quantum Computing Startup Raises $215 Million for Faster Device