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World first operating system breakthrough puts quantum computing on a chip

The first quantum operating system is now available on a chip thanks to Cambridge-based quantum specialist Riverlane’s work with New York and London-based digital quantum company Seeqc.

The control chip achieves quantum advantage using a fraction of the space necessary in previous hardware
The control chip achieves quantum advantage using a fraction of the space necessary in previous hardware

The sensational breakthrough is equivalent to the moment during the 1960s in traditional computing when computers shrunk from being room-sized to being sat on top of a desk.

Seeqc is developing the first fully digital quantum computing platform for global businesses.based in Elmsford, New York, with facilities in London, UK and Naples, Italy, Seeqc applies classical and quantum technology through digital readout and control technology and a unique chip-scale architecture.

Cambridge-based Riverlane is heading a consortium financed by a £7.6m government grant which is tasked with building a quantum operating system. It announced the initial version of the worlds first quantum operating system, Deltaflow.OS, late last year.

Now, for the first time, a scalable quantum computer has been demonstrated featuring a quantum operating system running on a unique, chip-scale integrated quantum computing architecture.

Seeqc has achieved this breakthrough in partnership with Riverlane. The success represents a key demonstration of the portability of Deltaflow.OS.

“We’re headquartered in the US and have a major R&D site in the UK,”said Dr Matthew Hutchings, London-based chief product officer and co-founder of Seeqc. “Essentially we’re taking the Deltaflow operating system and putting it into chip.”

Seeqc’s UK team is focused on design and system integration.

“We’ve worked closely with Riverlane, they’re our technical partner,” said Dr Hutchings. “We decided the quantum hardware programme needed to very closely integrate with the software. We took the OS core and optimised it for hardware at the interface.”

The wafer developed by Seeqc controls a version of Riverlane’s Deltaflow.OS
The wafer developed by Seeqc controls a version of Riverlane’s Deltaflow.OS

Tight integration of Deltaflow.OS on Seeqc’s platform will enable Seeqc to maximise the low-latency performance available through its chip-scale technology. Low-latency performance is important for running quantum algorithms efficiently and achieving quantum advantage.

Seeqc and Riverlane make up an important part of the UK quantum technology sector, and co-location in the UK is key to achieving tight system integration.

Dr Hutchings said: “This is the first time we have built an integrated quantum computing chip based on our unique scalable architecture and run a programme on it. We achieved stability and full-stack control and, in so doing, also a remarkable moment for the evolution of quantum computing.

“This is as significant for the future of quantum computers as the microchip itself was for commercialising traditional computers, allowing them to be produced cost-effectively and at scale.”

The existing hardware profile – think a big chandelier in a large lab – is now destined to be a relic.

“Those systems were fantastic for building quantum computers, but ultimately they’re room-scale, and that sort of system complexity is not designed to scale, so we’ve taken room-scale technology and put it into a chip by integrating the chip with the qubits, which removes a lot of the overheads.”

A qubit is the quantum version of the classic binary two-state device.

“Where it took a rackful of electronics to control the qubits, now it’s available on a chip the size of a penny. All the functionality is on a chip, so we’ve solved the issue for the quantum era.”

Dr Steve Brierley, founder and CEO of Riverlane, said: “This successful demonstration of Deltaflow.OS onto Seeqc’s hardware is hugely encouraging.

“By combining quantum hardware and software expertise, we have solved a key challenge in quantum computing; ensuring portability and high performance across different qubit technologies.”

The work was supported by the NISQ.OS Innovate UK grant and achieved using the advanced commercial quantum measurement facilities at QUES2T, operated by University College London. Seeqc is constructing a quantum lab facility in London, due for completion in October.

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