In April 2021, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced a Quantum Benchmarking program to estimate the long-term utility of quantum computers by creating new benchmarks that can quantify progress towards specific computational challenges. Additionally, the program will estimate the hardware-specific resources required to achieve different levels of benchmark performance. We had previously reported (see here and here) on several Phase I awards that were made last year.

DARPA has now started providing awards for Phase II of the program for certain teams to continue work on this project. Rigetti Computing, along with a team including the University of Technology Sydney, Aalto University, and the University of Southern California will continue with their benchmarking activities through the end of Phase II which will last until March 2025. During Phase I this team developed a resource estimation framework that can help estimate the required capability of a large superconducting based quantum processor for solving large, complex problems. Phase II will involve refining and optimizing the estimates for selected utility-scale problems. It will focus on fault tolerant applications in areas such as chemistry simulations and modeling quantum system dynamics. The Phase II award is valued at up to $1.5 million dependent upon the achievement of certain milestones. Rigetti has provided a news release announcing the award and it can be accessed here.

A second announcement has been made by Zapata AI along with partners from Aalto University, IonQ, the University of Technology Sydney (Australia), and the University of Texas at Dallas. This will also continue their Phase I work which developed an open source benchmarking tool called BenchQ. This tool can make estimates of the hardware resources required for fault-tolerant quantum computation in an ion-trap based processor. BenchQ includes a graph-state compiler, distillation factory models, decoder performance models, implementations of selected quantum algorithms, and more. The Phase II work will including improving the tool to make it easier for others to adopt, building and maintaining software integrations, and adding additional use cases. Zapata has posted a news release announcing this Phase II award on their web site that can be seen here.

DARPA has made additional awards for this Quantum Benchmarking program that will be announced shortly. We will report on those awards when the information is available.

December 2, 2023