UPDATED 09:00 EDT / MARCH 19 2020

EMERGING TECH

Startup Quantum Machines raises $17.5M in early-stage round

Israeli startup Quantum Machines Ltd., which has built a platform for controlling and operating quantum computers, said today it has raised $17.5 million in a new round of funding.

The Series A round was led by Israeli entrepreneur Avigdor Willenz, who previously sold artificial intelligence chip startup Habana Labs Ltd. to Intel Corp. for $2 billion, and Harel Group, with participation from previous investors TLV Partners and Battery Ventures.

Quantum Machines has developed what it calls a “Quantum Orchestration Platform” that enables quantum processors to be controlled and operated more easily using regular computing hardware. This kind of control is useful because quantum computing is a tricky business. One of the main challenges is that, while classical computing has two fundamental layers, in the hardware and the software, quantum computing has three, because it uses both classical and quantum hardware, as well as software.

The company said dedicated classical hardware is necessary in order to properly operate quantum processors, which is where the potential for immensely more powerful computational power lies. The classical hardware is needed to perform mathematical operations on quantum bits by sending electromagnetic pulses to the qubits.

Quantum Machines said its Quantum Orchestration Platform is powered by advanced classical hardware that has been specifically developed for operating those processors. It also provides an easy-to-use software interface that enables users to easily program complex algorithms, the company said.

“At its core, the Quantum Orchestration Platform comprises a dedicated processor, the Pulse Processor, capable of handling multiqubit manipulation efficiently and at scale,” Chief Executive Itamar Sivan told SiliconANGLE. “The platform’s robust architecture and powerful yet intuitive programming language enable state-of-the-art algorithms to run easily, dramatically reducing the time and effort spent to run quantum algorithms.”

The Quantum Orchestration Platform uses QUA, a special quantum computing programming language, to translate classical code into a “quantum assembly language” that can program algorithms that can then be run on any quantum processor.

“Through its powerful capabilities; such as ultra-low feedback latency, general multiqubit control flow, and fully parametric programming, the Quantum Orchestration Platform stands to accelerate the development of useful quantum computing through its ease of programmability,” Sivan said.

The company said its platform has been adopted by several of the “leading players” in quantum computing, including multinational corporations, quantum startups, government laboratories and academic institutions in six countries.

“The race to commercial quantum computers is one of the most exciting technological challenges of our generation,” said new investor Willenz. “Our goal at QM is to make this happen faster than anticipated and establish ourselves as a key player in this emerging industry.”

Image: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

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