Innovate UK to put £500,000 towards quantum computing innovation

Innovate UK, the governmental innovation agency, is set to contribute £500,000 in funding towards helping quantum startups overcome technical challenges

The funding comes in support of a project that aims to advance “error correction” capabilities, undertaken by quantum companies Riverlane and Rigetti Computing, reports The Times.

Quantum computing operate on units called qubits that, unlike traditional binary values operating the average computer, can represent two digits simultaneously — opening potential for new solutions across multiple sectors, such as healthcare, financial services and defence.

According to IBM, a current major player in the quantum space, a “future where we correct the errors innate to computing with such sensitive hardware is where quantum computers reach their full potential”.

However, technical challenges are still to be overcome, due to a lack of maturity at this stage, including the difficulty of main qubits in a system being directly measured, due to high risk of the information being destroyed.

The scheme being carried out by Riverlane, based in Cambridge, and California-based Rigetti, focuses on “syndrome extraction” — a process which involves additional qubits being deployed to better find errors on the main qubits in a machine.

While Riverlane is overseeing the mission of developing a quantum operating system to tackle error correction, Rigetti’s remit is to develop suitable computers and processors, and find valuable hybrid “quantum-classical” use cases.

Riverlane founder and CEO Steve Brierley believes that “error correction is one of the keys to unlocking” the promise of quantum.

In total, Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is looking to invest £153 million — supported by £205 million from industry — towards quantum innovation.


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.