Collaboration Reports Milestone for Neutral Atom Quantum Computing

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BOULDER, CO, April 20, 2022 — ColdQuanta, Riverlane and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, today announced they have successfully run a quantum algorithm on a cold atom qubit array system, codenamed “AQuA,” which the three companies say is an industry first “that brings quantum computing one step closer to real world applications.”

The milestone was conducted at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the research group led by Prof. Mark Saffman. A paper on the research was published today in Nature, the world’s leading multidisciplinary science journal.

Gate model quantum computers promise to solve currently difficult computational problems if they can be operated at scale with long coherence times and high fidelity logic. Cold atom hyperfine qubits provide inherent scalability due to their identical characteristics, long coherence times, and ability to be trapped in dense multi-dimensional arrays.

The team is the first in the world to demonstrate quantum algorithms on a programmable gate model cold atom quantum computer. An architecture was used in which individual atoms are addressed with tightly focused optical beams scanned across a two-dimensional array of qubits.

The team achieved the preparation of entangled Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger (GHZ) states with up to 6 qubits, quantum phase estimation for a chemistry problem, and the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA) for the MaxCut graph problem. These results highlight the highly scalable capability of cold atom qubit arrays for universal, programmable quantum computation, as well as preparation of non-classical states of use for quantum enhanced sensing.

“There’s a race to build a useful quantum computer, and there’s a handful of different approaches that are being developed including cold atom qubits,” said Dr. Mark Saffman. “This is the first quantum computer using cold atoms with multiple qubits and running quantum algorithms, so it’s a significant step forward for the cold atom approach.”

Dr. Ophelia Crawford, Senior Quantum Scientist at Riverlane, said, “Combining Riverlane‘s expertise in quantum algorithms and quantum chemistry with ColdQuanta and UW-Madison’s deep knowledge of hardware was crucial to successfully implementing QPE in this project. Close partnerships like this will be vital for tackling the scientific and engineering challenges that must be overcome to get to useful quantum computers sooner than previously imaginable.”

ColdQuanta will soon launch Hilbert, a 100-qubit scale computer that builds on the groundbreaking work conducted in this research. Leveraging the natural scalability of the Cold Atom approach, the Hilbert platform will offer strong connectivity, fidelity, and miniaturization with systems operating at room temperature.

As members of the Chicago Quantum Exchange, UW–Madison and ColdQuanta are among the industry leaders that have helped the Chicago region, including Madison, Wis., emerge as a leading hub of quantum research nationally.