Two Canadian companies have joined one of the world’s leading technology companies to push the boundaries of what computing can achieve.
Kitchener’s Quantum Benchmark and Vancouver’s 1QBit, along with six other companies, are the first startups to join IBM’s Q Network. The network is a worldwide community dedicated to the progress of quantum computing and how it could interact as a practical application for both research and business.
Membership within the network will allow 1Qbit and Quantum Benchmark to run experiments using IBM’s vast quantum resources via access through a cloud network. In addition, the companies can work with IBM’s team, additional SMEs, and the other six companies in the Q Network.
1QBit builds hardware-agnostic quantum software to help solve complex computational problems. They raised a massive $45 million Series B funding round late last year and partnered with Accenture to become their preferred systems integrator.
Quantum Benchmark develops software that helps computers navigate through the inevitable errors that arise from a quantum computation. This is known as enabling error characterization, error mitigation, error correction and performance validation. Quantum Benchmark can help any company with quantum technology understand what kind of advantages they can achieve.
Quantum computing is an incredibly expensive field to research and develop in, so these startups having access to the work IBM has already achieved is a big milestone. Current computers operate on strings of “bits” which are encoded as either a zero or one. A quantum computer uses “qubits,” which are bits engaged in superposition or entanglement. These qubits can act as both a zero and a one, resulting in extremely optimized computing processing.
“Our team couldn’t be more excited to begin working closely with these industry leading startups to explore how quantum computing may address today’s unsolvable problems in industries such as financial services, automotive or chemistry,” wrote Jeff Welser, a director of research at IBM. “We believe that extending our sphere of collaborators to include the startup community will help to rapidly foster growth at all levels of the quantum stack and advance early applications.”
The IBM Q Network launched in December 2017 and provides access to the Q System for a few choice startups. That system is one of the world’s most advanced quantum computing setups. On top of this, members of the network have access to APIs and software tools, libraries and applications.
The eight companies will also work closely with the QISKit, an open source quantum developer kit. Since its inception in 20-16, more than 80,000 users have run over three million executions through the QISKit, and over 60 research papers have been published based off the technology.
The other six companies included in IBM’s Q Network are Zapata Computing, Strangeworks, QxBranch, QC Ware, Q-CTRL, and Cambridge Quantum Computing. Prior partners of the network include Samsung, Daimler, Honda, JP Morgan Chase and more.
The inclusion of two quantum computing companies from Canada recognizes the country’s continued approach to the highly-specialized field. Big banks like RBC, along with the government and the Canadian Space Agency, are investing in quantum cybersecurity to get ahead of what’s known as the “post-quantum threat,” when computers will be multitudes more powerful than existing systems. That leads to almost every legacy system becoming much easier to attack.
On top of this, the federal government carved out an entire section in the 2018 budget to address the advent of quantum computing, ensuring that it will be a field every business must look into and address at some point.