QuEra Computing, a company that develops neutral-atom quantum computers, has received two grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of the Imagining Practical Applications for a Quantum Tomorrow (IMPAQT) program. The program aims to explore novel quantum algorithms and applications that can be implemented on near-term quantum platforms.

The first grant is for a project on “Quantum Reservoir Learning using Neutral Atoms and its Applications”. This project will extend QuEra’s previous work on quantum machine learning, where they demonstrated how to classify handwritten digits using their neutral-atom hardware. The project will scale up the method and apply it to more realistic problems, such as image recognition and natural language processing.

The second grant is for a project on “Error-Corrected Quantum Architectures Based on Transversal Logical Gates”. This project will investigate how to improve the reliability and scalability of quantum computation using transversal logical gates, which are special operations that can correct errors without disturbing the quantum information. The project will analyze the performance of these gates on QuEra’s neutral-atom hardware and compare them to other error-correction schemes.

In addition, QuEra has five partners that have also received DARPA IMPAQT grants for their projects which will use QuEra’s neutral-atom hardware. These include the following partners and projects.

  • Moody’s – Predicting events impacting insurers.
  • Harvard – Analog-digital quantum machine learning on programmable neutral-atom quantum simulators.
  • BlueQubit – Areas where classical methods fall short, particularly in Gibbs sampling.
  • Polaris Quantum Biotech – Quantum-aided drug discovery.
  • The University of Padova – Numerical benchmarking of quantum simulations to be run on QuEra’s hardware.

QuEra’s technology is based on large-scale arrays of neutral atoms, which are atoms that have no electric charge. QuEra uses rubidium atoms, which are trapped in a vacuum chamber by laser beams. The atoms can be manipulated by changing the intensity and frequency of the lasers, creating qubits that can store and process quantum information.

QuEra’s hardware has several advantages over other quantum platforms, such as superconducting circuits or trapped ions. For example, QuEra can create qubits with high coherence, which means they can preserve their quantum state for longer times. QuEra can also reconfigure the layout of the qubits using its field-programmable qubit array (FPQA) technology, which allows for more flexibility and efficiency in quantum computation.

QuEra currently offers access on the Amazon Braket cloud system to its Aquila-class machines, which have up to 256 qubits. The company is also working on scaling up its hardware to achieve higher numbers of qubits and higher performance. QuEra’s software package, Bloqade, helps users express and test their quantum problems on the hardware.

Additional information can be found in a press release posted on the QuEra website here.

October 31, 2023