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What if quantum computing could cut all car pollution?

Quantum computing reduces processing times from millions of years to mere seconds, compared to the fastest supercomputer. IQM is turning this remarkable fact into a scale-able reality
Entä jos kvanttilaskenta vähentäisi merkittävästi autoilun päästöjä?(kuva: Aleksi Neuvonen)
photo: Aleksi Neuvonen

This article is part of a series showcasing six startups at Aalto University's at Slush Helsinki 2019.

There is a whole, as yet, unseen world of discovery just waiting for the onset of quantum computing. But scale-up has thus far proven difficult, for large-scale companies and startups alike. IQM, a research based spin-out from Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has produced a lock-tight solution that offers unprecedented quantum computing power, and the possibility of moving quantum computing from a few select labs around the world to mass rollout.

Quantum computing will change life as we know it and will completely revolutionise industries right across the board such as in health care, finance, IT  and sciences both material based and theoretical. We have been very good at collecting vast amounts of data, but with the result being that we have more data than we can analyse. Quantum computing will provide an unprecedented data analysis tool. With that much power, there will be wild new possibilities for reducing car pollution, curing cancer or boosting AI.

Thus far, however, it’s been incredibly hard to keep the quantum bit (or qubit) stable enough to perform meaningful tasks. Resetting of the quantum memory requires strict control of the quantum circuits at a temperature of close to absolute zero, to avoid system overheating and therefore affecting the qubit state excitation.

Circumventing this bottleneck is prohibitively expensive and somewhat lacking in the level of tech needed. Accelerating the adoption of quantum computing relies on relentlessly increasing computational speeds and improving error correction and as IQM Chief scientist, Professor Mikko Möttönen, says ‘This calls for driving faster clock cycles by vastly reducing the time required for qubit reset, logic gates and readout. Getting there involves hardware systems that are finely tuned to keep the fragile qubits stable, yet are robust, practical and cost-effective. This, however, is IQM’s domain’.

Large companies like Google and IBM are getting in on the action but as IQM’s CEO Jan Goetz says, it’s not just about who has the most money to throw around, so the playing field is more level than might be expected, ‘Of course we need substantial funding to keep going , but it really boils down to the amount of talent and innovative ideas you have access to and Europe is full of that talent!’.

Dr Goetz says that IQM is working towards IQM being the leading supplier of quantum computers in Europe within the next five years, but they aren’t forsaking broader global plans either, ‘We need to keep up the best infrastructure and team to be able to compete with the strong efforts from US and China’.

IQM, founded in 2018

Founders:
Dr Jan Goetz – CEO
Professor Mikko Möttönen – Chief scientist
Dr Juha Vartiainen – COO
Dr Kuan Yen Tan – CTO

The company recently closed a US$12.6M seed round, backed by Matadero QED, Maki. Vc, MIG Funds, OpenOcean, Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment), and Vito Ventures. Fund executives include global semiconductor experts and entrepreneurs who will help IQM to build infrastructure, recruit talent, and expand collaborations with ecosystem partners. MIG Partner Dr Axel Thierauf is the Chairman; Ekaterina Almasque, a Partner with OpenOcean joined the board.

Major milestones:   

  • Exceeding the critical mass of quantum research talent in Otaniemi
  • Reaching long decoherence times in qubit by improved fabrication technology
  • Demonstration of the quantum-circuit refrigerator to perform fast qubit reset
  • Demonstration of fast qubit readout 
    https://www.meetiqm.com/
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