Million-Qubit Quantum Computing? How SEEQC Plans To Scale Quantum Computers – Forbes

Million-Qubit Quantum Computing? How SEEQC Plans To Scale Quantum Computers – Forbes

As exciting as it may be to hear about breakthrough 127-qubit quantum computers or promises of 1,000 qubits by 2023, the reality is that quantum computing is still not a mainstream computing technology that produces game-changing real-world results with massive and obvious and immediate impact.

There’s still a ton of promise and potential and future in quantum computing.

That’s something New York-based quantum computing company SEEQC is looking to change. And it’s facing an uphill battle.

The company is starting by constructing purpose-built one-off quantum computers in much the same way as the first classical computers were created to do one thing, like calculating missile trajectories in the early days of rocketry. One project, QPharma, is the company’s venture with Merck and other partners to build a quantum computer for pharmaceutical research. A key technique the company uses is to essentially merge classical computers and quantum computers right inside the dilution refrigerators that quantum computers need to reach their optimum operating temperatures (within spitting distance of absolute zero). The goal: reduce the round tripping of instructions and digital to analog conversions that external quantum computer control mechanisms require, and to do readout, control, and even potentially error correction essentially right inside the quantum computer.

A screenshot of a SEEQC video showcasing chip production.


That’s using chips with impressive speeds — 30 to 40 gigahertz — that operate at very low temperatures to avoid destabilizing qubits.

Perhaps the most challenging work SEEQC is doing is looking at ways to scale quantum computers by multiple orders of magnitude.

“What we’re focused on really is figuring out a strategy for how to scale a quantum computer,” CEO John Levy told me recently on the TechFirst podcast. “As much as IBM will get to a thousand or thousands of qubits … the question is how do we get to ten thousand, a hundred thousand, a million qubits so that we actually scale quantum computers to the complexity of the problems that large companies care about.”

“And that’s what we’re doing.”

This starts with using SEEQC’s foundry to design and build chips in near real-time — think iterations every single week — that the company can mix and match for various needs such as running a quantum variational eigensolver or a quantum approximate optimization algorithm. It helps that the company is a spin-out of Hypres, which develops and commercializes superconductor integrated circuits.

But for Levy, what’s critical is not just building the quantum components of a quantum computer — the qubits themselves. What’s just as important is integrating them efficiently into a computing environment that makes sense for how we actually solve problems and use insight.