Creative Destruction Lab Readies Accelerator for Quantum Computing Startups

The Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto established a partnership this month between its recently unveiled Quantum Machine Learning Program and Rigetti Computing, a full-stack quantum computing company.

The partnership aims to support startups focused on developing quantum machine learning software. It will bolster the Lab’s program, which was initially unwrapped in May with D-Wave Systems and launches in September.

“We announced the Quantum Machine Learning Program earlier this year with founding technology partner D-Wave Systems, and since then, the interest from applicants, investors, and technology partners has exceeded our expectations,” said Daniel Mulet, associate director of Quantum Machine Learning at CDL. “The partnership with Rigetti expands the options of quantum systems available for algorithm development for the companies in our program.”

CDL believes that quantum computing may soon provide advantages over classical computing in terms of faster optimization, efficient sampling, and reduction in computational complexity, all of which are relevant to machine learning algorithms.

The Rigetti partnership will be the CDL’s first collaboration with a general-purpose, gate-based quantum computing company. Rigetti says it will provide hands-on training in its forest programming environment, including the quantum instruction set Quil, hybrid programming models, and algorithm libraries.

“The startups at the CDL are at the leading edge of this technology and will get early access to Rigetti’s general-purpose quantum hardware and to Forest, one of the most sophisticated quantum programming environments in the world,” said Madhav Thattai, chief strategy officer at Rigetti. “We’re looking forward to working with these pioneering individuals and teams to help create and accelerate the quantum application ecosystem.”

Over the summer, applications were submitted from around the world to be part of the CDL’s first Quantum Machine Learning cohort. Forty teams were selected for the inaugural year-long program.

“Both Rigetti and the CDL share a common belief that near-term applications of quantum computing will be useful for machine learning applications, so we are delighted that they are investing in building the ecosystem with us,” said Rachel Harris, director of the CDL. “Rigetti’s rate of progress and focus on applications make them a key partner for us in this effort.”