The award was made by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of their ONISQ (Optimization with Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum devices) program to develop a scalable, cold-atom-based quantum computing hardware and software platform that can demonstrate quantum advantage of quantum-hybrid systems over classical systems for a range of difficult combinatorial optimization problems including resource allocation, logistics, and image recognition. The program began in March 2020 and will run for 48 months in two phases. This is the second award from the ONISQ program we are aware of with the first being an $8.6 Million award for a superconducting based system that we reported on last month.

ColdQuanta is leading the development of the hardware, control systems, and interface software using their Quantum Core™ technology which is based upon the use of lasers to cool atoms to near absolute zero. ColdQuanta’s approach does not require expensive dilution refrigerators which can save considerable cost. (See the diagram below)  They will partner with University of Wisconsin–Madison, Raytheon Technologies, Argonne National Laboratory, University of Chicago, NIST Gaithersburg, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Innsbruck, and Tufts University that will supply supply a range of components, develop use cases and applications, provide expertise in quantum computation and quantum simulation, and perform benchmarking using world-class classical supercomputers. Additional information is available in the news release posted on the ColdQuanta web site here and also an overview video of their technology here.

Diagram of ColdQuanta Cold Atom Qubits

April 10, 2020