Microsoft and PsiQuantum lead the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) program, Underexplored Systems for Utility-Scale Quantum Computing (US2QC). DARPA aims to see if new quantum computing methods can reach utility-scale operation faster than expected.
At first, companies shared design concepts for big quantum computers. Now, Microsoft and PsiQuantum have chosen to develop their ideas further. The goal of US2QC is to create a fault-tolerant prototype, a smaller quantum computer, to prove that building and running a big one is possible.
What is Microsoft and PsiQuantum’s plan of action?
The prototype’s plan must detail all the necessary parts and systems, including their minimum performance requirements. To ensure these designs are solid, a government team led by DARPA, with top technical experts, will carefully review them.
Dr. Joe Altepeter, the program manager for US2QC at DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office, mentioned, “We are very excited that multiple performers’ designs showed plausible paths to truly utility-scale systems.”
Earlier this year, DARPA picked three companies with innovative approaches in the first phase:
- Atom Computing, located in Berkeley, California, constructs highly scalable quantum computers using large arrays of optically trapped atoms.
- Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington, is developing an industrial-scale quantum system using a topological qubit architecture. They believe this approach will make the machine small enough to fit in a closet, fast enough to solve problems quickly, and capable of controlling more than one million qubits.
- PsiQuantum, Corp., based in Palo Alto, California, utilizes silicon-based photonics to build an error-corrected quantum computer. Their design is based on a lattice-like fabric of photonic qubits.
Microsoft and PsiQuantum are leading the way in this exploration, and the project is scheduled to run until March 2025.
Dr. Altepeter stressed the continued dedication to discovering if these technologies can make the substantial advancements needed to create quantum computers with actual scientific and industrial uses.
“These researchers are putting in tremendous effort, providing strong technology descriptions and detailed research plans,” Altepeter mentioned.