PsiQuantum in 2017 built 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.
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.
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.
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