Innovate UK, the British state investment agency, has awarded a £500,000 grant to Cambridge-based Riverlane and California-based Rigetti Computing to solve the issue of error correction in quantum computing.
The partnership between the US and UK quantum computing firms, backed by British government funding, aims to resolve the “single greatest challenge to unlock quantum’s full potential”– error correction.
Where traditional computers store information as a 0 or 1, known as bits, quantum computers can process information as either or both at the same time. These are known as qubits, and mean a quantum computer’s processing power can increase exponentially.
This extra firepower gives quantum computers the potential to solve perform tasks and calculations substantially faster than a traditional computer.
“Some problems are quantum mechanical in nature so can only be solved by using a quantum computer,” said Riverlane founder and CEO, Steve Brierley.
“Quantum computers thus offer an opportunity to progress science in many fields from an Age of Discovery through extensive trial and error to an Age of Design where all possibilities can be simulated.”
While this area of technology is considered highly promising, it remains a challenge to develop quantum computers free from errors. Machines must normally be kept in precise lab conditions to reduce the risk of errors ruining calculations.
“Error correction is one of the keys to unlocking this future. We’re delighted to partner with Rigetti and are hungry to solve error correction for the entire industry,” Brierley said.
Riverlane is known for having built the world’s first operating system for error-corrected quantum computing. Rigetti, meanwhile, is a pioneer in hybrid quantum-classical computing. The two companies will be attempting to tackle syndrome extraction on superconducting quantum computers.
“Tackling error correction requires partners who understand the full quantum stack,” said Chad Rigetti, founder and CEO of Rigetti Computing.
“We are excited to combine our quantum hardware knowledge with Riverlane’s software capabilities to solve this critical challenge and accelerate the quantum computing industry’s progress.”
The UK has put a significant focus on developing its position as a world leader in quantum computing, both at a government level and privately.
Earlier this month, Rigetti launched a 32-qubit quantum computer in the UK, its first to be based in the country.
British bank HSBC announced in April that it has partnered with IBM for a three-year quantum computing project to see its potential use in banking.