2022 Business Start-Up Award winner: Universal Quantum

Universal Quantum receives a Business Start-Up Award for its work developing the world’s first million-qubit quantum computer. Universal Quantum’s electronic modules are based on silicon technology, connected using ultrafast electric field links to form an architecture that truly scales.

 


Universal Quantum is developing the first million-qubit quantum computer. The company’s original hardware and software blueprint addressed the key science and engineering challenges to scale and demonstrate a useful quantum computation, faster than the competition. Now, Universal Quantum is putting this blueprint into action.

To realise their full potential, quantum computers must scale to millions of quantum bits (qubits). This is now the primary challenge within quantum computing. But there are many ways to make a large-scale quantum computer – with different types of qubits being tested and developed.

Current quantum computers are made up of dozens of qubits and most of this hardware is dominated by big tech players focusing on superconducting qubits. While they provide useful proofs of concept, many existing designs could struggle to scale to millions of qubits for many reasons. For example, superconducting qubits need near-absolute zero temperatures to work. As quantum computers grow in size and complexity, the refrigeration requirements become unimaginable.

So, many companies are now focusing on an alternative type of qubit that does not need to be cooled to such challenging temperatures – trapped-ion qubits. Trapped ion designs have led to many significant world records in the quantum computing sector, including Universal Quantum’s original blueprint for a commercially viable quantum machine.

This blueprint proposes unique solutions to address the vast range of additional engineering challenges to scale up. It introduces a modular architecture where qubits can travel across a quantum computer and effectively ‘talk’ to one another to complete fast and accurate quantum calculations. It is a novel design, unlike anything the big tech companies are currently pursuing.

This is where Universal Quantum’s strength in quantum computing lies – not in trying to scale pre-existing quantum computer designs but in coming up with new and innovative solutions to address the million-qubit challenge from the outset.

About the company

Universal Quantum is developing the first million-qubit quantum computer. The company’s electronic modules are based on silicon technology, connected using ultrafast electric field links to form an architecture that truly scales. Universal Quantum is a spin-out from the University of Sussex with 15+ years of quantum computing experience.