News ‘Dark horse’ in quantum computing race raises 100 million euros

Paris-based quantum computing startup PASQAL announced today that it has raised €100 million in a Series B funding round led by new Singapore-based investor Temasek. It is joined by the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund, Wa’ed Ventures and Bpifrance through its large venture fund and existing investors Quantonation, Defense Innovation Fund, Daphni and Eni Next. This brings PASQAL’s total funding to date to over EUR 140 million.

Founded in 2019, PASQAL is a spin-off of the Institut d’Optique to develop quantum processors based on ordered neutral atoms in 2D and 3D arrays. physics today It was recently announced that “over the past five years, neutral atoms have emerged as dark horse candidates in the race to build quantum computers.” Neutral atoms are considered “dark horses” because they are currently the dominant and most discussed method for building quantum computers. The methods are superconducting circuits and trapped ions, approaches championed by the likes of IBM, Google and Intel (as well as a host of startups).

Surveying the quantum computing space late last year, CB Insights (CBI) predicted that 2022 would be a “record year for both funding and deals” for the startup ecosystem in the field. CBI’s Quantum Computing Market Map highlights 102 companies organized by major application, ranging from hardware manufacturers to development tools to quantum services for enterprises.

Of the quantum computer makers on the map, two are using neutral atoms to build their quantum processors. “This approach allows relatively stable qubits — which are often easy to quickly shed the delicate properties needed for quantum computing — to be packed tightly together on a chip, which the companies hope will make their processors more accessible. extension,” explained the CBI report. In addition to PASQAL, it also highlights another atom-neutral startup, California-based Atom Computing, which “has a 100-qubit machine and raised a $60 million Series B in January 2022.” Deferred financing.”

PASQAL’s technology is based on research conducted by its co-founder and 2022 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Alain Aspect. The company believes this puts it ahead of the race to deliver a major commercial advantage over traditional computers, and hopes to achieve this by 2024. PASQAL plans to accelerate the company’s R&D efforts to build a 1,000-qubit quantum computer with short- and long-term fault-tolerant architectures in 2018.

The company also plans to increase production of its quantum systems for local installations and expand the development of proprietary algorithms for customers in key verticals. Current clients include Crédit Agricole CIB, Siemens, BMW, Airbus, LG Electronics, Johnson & Johnson, Thales and BASF.

PASQAL recently announced the release of its Pulser Studio, the first no-code development platform for neutral-atom quantum computers; and a collaboration agreement with Professor Hannes Bernien of the University of Chicago to develop new technologies enabling high-fidelity qubit control ​​​​. This is the first collaboration between PASQAL and an American university.

As analysts at the Quantum Computing Report (QCR) observed, the first nine funding rounds for quantum startups in 2023 will all happen outside the U.S. than others. “

Global Quantum Intelligence (GQI) concluded in its Quantum Hardware 2023 report: “The reality is that today’s devices are nowhere near what we need: smaller devices are not big enough to go beyond the reach of classical analog; larger “Devices with existing devices cannot maintain the quality we need. The potential hurdles we face in scaling up current designs vary by qubit platform, but are all important.”

The search is for a practical, working quantum computer that can decode real-world challenges better than classical computers. There is growing focus on where and how quantum computing can play a role, and global corporate investment in this emerging technology is on the rise.

A recent Zapata Computing survey of large enterprises found that 29% of respondents classified themselves as early quantum adopters, 4% as advanced quantum adopters; Computing Gains a Competitive Advantage, with 30% believing they will gain a competitive advantage through the use of quantum computing within the next 12 months. Other recent surveys have also found that companies across industries are increasing their experiments with quantum computing, testing a variety of applications.

PASQAL’s work with its customers illustrates the emerging corporate movement to let us see what this arcane technology can do for us. BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, is exploring how to use PASQAL’s technology to predict weather patterns, while BMW is using PASQAL’s algorithms to simplify complex simulations that can be used in crash tests and to develop lighter parts and materials. A research project between PASQAL and Crédit Agricole CIB, the world’s largest cooperative financial institution, has shown that quantum computing can solve complex financial optimization problems as accurately as classical computers.

Presentation by Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO and Co-Founder of PASQAL.

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