Q-CTRL to apply AI to quantum computer hardware


Quantum technology developer Q-CTRL’s US office will receive a $230,000 Phase-1 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for advanced scientific computing research.

Q-CTRL’s funding is one of 158 grants totalling $35 million to support scientific innovation and clean energy development.

Q-CTRL will leverage the grant to fund a project automating quantum computer hardware through AI in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories, a US Department of Energy science and engineering laboratory for national security and technology innovation.

The company is part of an Australian eco-system of hardware and software companies in quantum technology, which is expected to address issues related to climate change including battery design and materials science.

DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards aim at transforming DOE-supported science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services.

The awards also support the development of specialised technologies and instruments that aid in scientific discovery.

Q-CTRL’s project aims to eliminate the need for expert-level manual intervention in operating quantum computers, a key hurdle preventing the technology from reaching its full potential.

Working with Sandia National Laboratories, Q-CTRL is using the grant to build new tools for quantum computer automation via its expertise in machine learning and AI applied to quantum hardware.

In addition, the funding will allow Q-CTRL to expand its presence in the U.S., including growing its office in Los Angeles.

The project builds on several recent technical demonstrations from the Q-CTRL team, including the first use of deep learning to autonomously design quantum logic gates – the building blocks of quantum algorithms – which outperform the best human-designed alternatives.

Q-CTRL CEO Professor Michael J. Biercuk said: “We are honoured the DOE recognized Q-CTRL’s track record in advancing the field of quantum computing, which will solve complex problems in climate science, finance, defense and other fields.

“Automating essential processes for operating quantum computers will be critical to the technology’s success, and we look forward to working with Sandia National Laboratories to make this vision a reality.”

Recently, the company announced a $25 million Series B funding round led by Airbus Ventures. Q-CTRL was also a winner of the InnovationAus Australian Hero Award for its technology’s potential to make quantum computing useful by improving quantum computer stability.

Picture: Q-CTRL

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