Superconductor IC spinoff eyes ‘fully digital’ quantum computing

Market news |
By Rich Pell

The company’s approach combines classical and quantum computing to form an all-digital architecture through a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design that uses 10 to 40-GHz superconductive classical co-processing to address the efficiency, stability, and cost issues endemic to quantum computing systems. The company was recently spun out of HYPRES, Inc., the world’s leading developer of superconductor electronics, to pursue a vision of “making quantum computing useful, commercially, and at scale.”

“The ‘brute force’ or labware approach to quantum computing,” says John Levy, co-chief executive officer at Seeqc, “contemplates building machines with thousands or even millions of qubits requiring multiple analog cables and, in some cases, complex CMOS readout/control for each qubit, but that doesn’t scale effectively as the industry strives to deliver business-applicable solutions. With Seeqc’s hybrid approach, we utilize the power of quantum computers in a digital system-on-a-chip environment, offering greater control, cost reduction and with a massive reduction in energy, introducing a more viable path to commercial scalability.”

Through the spin-out from HYPRES, the company acquired significant infrastructure and intellectual property. HYPRES had garnered over $100 million from public and private investments to develop a multi-layer commercial superconductor chip foundry and intellectual property. This investment was in support of creating commercial superconductive computing solutions, much of which is now part of Seeqc.

These assets, says the company, give it the advantage of having sophisticated tools, facilities, and IP for the design, testing, and manufacturing of quantum-ready superconductor chips and wafers, enabling it to enter the quantum computing market as the world leader in superconductive electronics. The company says it is one of the only companies to ever design, manufacture, and deliver multi-layer superconductive digital chips operating at tens of gigahertz into complex cryogenic systems.

According to the company, its digital classical-quantum hybrid approach mitigates many of the challenges facing current quantum computing approaches:

  • Heat/power – Seeqc uses single-flux quantum (SFQ) digital patterns to control and readout qubits instead of microwave pulses, which are complex to manage.
  • Complexity, distance, and stability – by stacking a classical chip over a qubit array and utilizing SFQ, Seeqc’s design simplifies and stabilizes the computing environment.
  • Speed/efficiency – Seeqc’s superconducting classical SFQ co-processors are working at tens of gigahertz, increasing speed and reducing latency in the system.
  • Fidelity – Digital readout and control at cryogenic temperatures can lead to higher fidelity.
  • Cost-effectiveness – Seeqc’s platform will deliver quantum computing at approximately 1/400 of the cost of current room-scale, error-prone systems in development.

The funding included $5 million from M Ventures, the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to develop commercially viable quantum computing systems for problem-specific applications. The M Ventures funding follows a $6.8 million seed round from investors including BlueYard Capital, Cambium, NewLab, and the Partnership Fund for New York City.


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NSF launches project to create first practical quantum computer



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