Atom Computing, a Berkeley, California quantum hardware startup founded in 2018 has been working in stealth mode for the past three years, but has just announced a trio of disclosures that will encourage people to get to know it a lot better.

To start, Rob Hays, a computing industry veteran with many years of experience in the classical computing industry has joined as CEO. Roby was previously Vice-Presdent and Chief Strategy Office for Lenovo and before that spent many years with Intel, most recently with their Intel’s Data Center Group. Co-founder Ben Bloom will become the company’s CTO. Also, Bill Jeffrey, CEO of SRI International has joined their Board of Directors.

The $15 million Series A Funding was provided by Venrock, Innovation Endeavors and Prelude Ventures. The company had previously secured in 2018 a $5 million seed round funding led by Venrock. The company currently has 30 employees and is actively recruiting for many open positions.

With this funding, Atom Computing has been very efficient in developing a 100 qubit machine, codenamed Phoenix, based upon their optically trapped neutral atom technology. The approach leverages many of the techniques developed over the past 40 years of physics research for high precision atomic clocks and other quantum gas and precision measurement experiments. Although there are similarities with other cold or neutral atom approaches, Atom’s approach is a little different because they use what they call nuclear-spin qubits consisting of Strontium atoms. These atoms are trapped, positioned, and manipulated using laser beams. These qubits exhibit very long coherence times in the 100’s or 1000’s of milliseconds and Atom believes this approach is highly scalable. Atom has developed their own machine language and controls for this machine and is currently operating with it in their lab.

With the new CEO on-board, the company will be stepping up its commercialization activities. They have started discussions with potential pilot customers and expect to provide a few of them with access to the machine later this year. They are also exploring additional software and cloud partnerships that could expand the opportunities for external customers to access and program the machine. A second generation computer based upon their technology is in development which they expect to make available to a wider set of customers in 2022.

Additional information about these developments at Atom Computer can be found in their news release here.

July 21, 2021