Extreme vacuums, mu metals and microkelvin-temperature cryogenic cooling: this is not a recipe for affordable, portable or easily scalable quantum computing power. But an Australian-born startup says it has developed a quantum microprocessor that needs none of these things. Indeed, it runs happily at room temperature. Right now, it's the size of a rack unit. Soon, it'll be the size of a decent graphics card, and before too long it'll be small enough to fit in mobile devices alongside traditional processors.
If this company does what it says it can, you'll be able to integrate the advantages of quantum into computers of just about any size, freeing this powerful new technology from the constraints of supercomputer size and expense. Quantum software and calculations won't need to be done through a fast connection to a mainframe or the cloud, it'll be done on-site where it's needed. Pretty disruptive stuff.
Quantum Brilliance was founded in 2019 on the back of research undertaken by its founders at the Australian National University, where they developed techniques to manufacture, scale and control qubits embedded in synthetic diamond.
[...] This field itself is not new – indeed, room-temperature quantum qubits have been around experimentally for more than 20 years. Quantum Brilliance's contribution to the field is in working out how to manufacture these tiny things precisely and replicably, as well as in miniaturizing and integrating the control structures you need to get information in and out of the qubits – the two key areas that have held these devices back from scaling beyond a few qubits to date.
"Because diamond is such a rigid material," says QB co-founder and COO Mark Luo over a Zoom call, "it's really able to hold a lot of these properties in place – that allow these quantum phenomena to be more stable compared to other systems out there. Given that rigidity, we can actually leverage off a lot of pre-existing classical control systems."
[...] The company has already built a number of "Quantum development kits" in rack units, each with around 5 qubits to work with, and it's placing them with customers already, for benchmarking, integration, co-design opportunities and to let companies start working out where they'll be advantageous once they hit the market in a ~50-qubit "Quantum Accelerator" product form by around 2025. "We think over a decade," says Luo, "we can even produce a quantum system-on-a-chip for mobile devices. Because this is truly material science technology that can achieve that."