You may not recognize the name Keysight Technologies as a participant in the quantum industry. But perhaps you would recognize them if we told you they are a direct descendent of the original Hewlett-Packard (HP) company that was founded in a garage in Palo Alto, California in 1939. The original Hewlett-Package product line consisted of electronic test and measurement equipment and Keysight is still producing those types of products today as a spinoff of the original HP.

Keysight is now getting involved with providing equipment, tools and support for the quantum industry. This effort has been accelerated with two acquisitions. The first occurred in August 2016 with the acquisition of Barcelona based Signadyne which made test and measurement equipment for quantum optics applications. And the second was completed in March 2020 with the acquisition of Cambridge, Massachusetts based Labber Quantum, a start-up out of the MIT EQuus Group that provides software for instrument control, signal generation, qubit calibration, and device testing. Today, they are building upon the technology obtained in these two acquisitions to provide a broad portfolio of solutions for the quantum market.

But perhaps as important to the industry as providing hardware and software products, is the support Keysight is providing for education and workforce development. The latest announcement is that Keysight is partnering with the Women in Quantum Chapter of to provide free professional mentoring services using tools from a company called MentorcliQ for individuals seeking to advance within the quantum industry by improving their skills. The skills can be technical skills, soft skills, or business skills. The one-on-one mentoring sessions will typically last for 3-6 months and will utilize OneQuantum’s deep roster of mentors with backgrounds in quantum, business, career skills and others. The first enrollment period for participating in this program runs through the month of April and to sign up and learn more about it, you view a more complete description of the program here.

As a large company with a long history of providing support to academic institutions for education and research in the classical electronics industry, Keysight is now doing the same for the quantum industry. They are now providing design software, equipment loans and donations to advance university research, teaching and learning. Some of this support can leverage the extensive programs they have developed for the very large RF Microwave industry. Since qubits are often controlled using microwave signals the basic principles of operation are the same. For example, Keysight has a software product called PathWave that provides Advanced Design System (ADS) and EM Design for EM field analysis. Keysight will provide this software for a bundle of 52 student seats at a heavily discount rate for universities and degree-granting institutions. For students who aim to work as a quantum RF control system engineer, Keysight also offers an RF and Microwave Industry-Ready Student Certification Program.

Besides software, Keysight can loan or donate hardware for use in developing quantum systems. For example, the EQuS group at MIT is building a gate-model 64-qubit testbed system based on a donation from Keysight Technologies. The testbed comprises a large dilution refrigerator and Keysight Technologies control electronics and software to realize the testbed. Other institutions that Keysight is working with on various research projects include the Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, The Boulder Cryogenic Quantum Testbed, University of Sherbrooke, Canada, Institut Quantique, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

A much discussed topic of one of the biggest challenges in advancing the quantum industry is workforce development. So here’s an example of one commercial company that is doing something about it and we hope that these examples will give other companies some ideas on things besides just R&D that they can do to help the industry advance.

April 10, 2021