Sydney start-up Q-CTRL launches open source quantum error suppression library Credit: GoogleSupplied Art
Business Management

Sydney start-up Q-CTRL launches open source quantum error suppression library

Sydney start-up Q-CTRL is releasing an open source library of error suppression controls for quantum computers.

The library of controls integrates with IBM’s Qiskit programming framework for quantum computers and can be run on any quantum machine.

“We’re removing barriers to the community’s use of these powerful techniques as we help bring the first commercially relevant quantum computers to reality,” said Q-CTRL CEO and founder Professor Michael Biercuk.

Quantum systems are highly susceptible to decoherence. Regardless of the approach taken to building quantum computers – IBM and Google back the superconducting loop method, Microsoft is ramping up its own 'soup to nuts' effort using as yet unproven topological qubits, while ionQ is focused on trapped ions – researchers all face a major challenge: The hardware is unstable and errors rapidly appear in a computation.

The states of quantum bits, or qubits, in quantum computers are quickly randomised by interference from the environment. Q-CTRL’s products – the first of which, Black Opal, launched in December – help teams design and deploy control for their quantum hardware in order to suppress these errors.

The new library, called Open Controls, is formatted to be run on any machine, including IBM’s publicly available hardware, and available for free.

It complements IBM’s recently launched Ignis framework, which aids understanding and mitigation of noise in quantum circuits and devices, and is part of the company’s open source quantum development kit Qiskit.

“The integration between Q-CTRL Open Controls and Qiskit allows scientists and the public to explore alternative, equivalent implementations of circuits that may be more robust to noise. Such research is essential to increase the fidelity of circuits and ultimately, the quality of the results of an application run on a quantum computer,” said Dr Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow, IBM Research.

“Seeing Open Controls, along with Qiskit Ignis bring this know-how into the open-source community is an exciting and encouraging development,” he added.

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Q-CTRL in April last year was one of only eight start-ups globally to be invited to join IBM’s Q Network, and given cloud-based access to the company’s quantum computers. As a member of the network, Q-Ctrl is able to run experiments on IBM’s 20 qubit quantum computer and collaborate with IBM researchers.

Like other companies in the burgeoning quantum technology sector, Q-CTRL is keen to nurture a community of quantum developers.

“We’re making it as easy for everyone to use error-robust controls on their quantum hardware.” said Dr. Michael Hush, lead quantum control engineer at Q-CTRL.

“We want to provide the most comprehensive library available and we can’t do it on our own. If you’re doing research in quantum control and want to promote your work, or you’re just curious as an amateur, give the package a try. It’s free and we welcome anyone to contribute,” Hush added. 

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