Putting Millions of Dollars Into Qubits. Will PsiQuantum Launch Into Orbit or Flame Out On the Way?

Well-done analysis from Moor Insights & Strategy via Forbes. Broad discussion at the layperson’s level of the types of qubits as they apply to PsiQuantum’s claims for a million qubit quantum computer within a decade or so. Recommend reading the entire piece at the source. Because Quantum Is Coming. Qubit

Quantum Computing With Particles Of Light: A $215 Million Gamble

+  Compared to today’s modest quantum computing capabilities, PsiQuantum’s elevator pitch for investors sounds like a line from a science fiction movie. O’Brien not only says he is going to build a fault-tolerant quantum computer with a staggering one million qubits, he also says he is going to do it within five years. O’Brien’s technology of choice for this claim is silicon photonics, which uses particles of light called photons to perform quantum calculations. Theoretically, ­­­­­photons behave as both waves and particles, but that’s a subject for another article. Quantum computing technologies in use today are primarily superconductors and trapped ion. However, there is plenty of research that shows photonics holds a lot of promise.

I [Paul Smith-Goodson] asked Robert Niffenegger, a research scientist at MIT Lincoln Labs, for his thoughts on PsiQuantum and its goal of a million qubits. Niffenegger said, “By setting a goal of a million qubits they emphasize that scale and integration are the only path forward and flaunt the fact that existing nano-photonics based on CMOS fabrication technologies is able to fabricate thousands of optical components on a single chip. However, even if they had very high-performance photonics on a single photonic chip the size of a wafer, that would at best get you maybe thousands of qubits.”

+  PsiQuantum’s objective to build a quantum computer with a million qubits is a colossal undertaking. For perspective, today’s biggest and best quantum computers have less than 100 qubits. Even that number stretches the limits of present-day quantum science. Google recently achieved quantum supremacy by performing a difficult computational task in a matter of seconds that would have taken a classical computer thousands of years to complete. Moreover, it only took a mere 54 qubits for that historic achievement.

+  PsiQuantum has made some outrageous claims that I [Paul Smith-Goodson] believe will end in one of two ways. Either the company revolutionizes the space or flames out like few startups have flamed out flushing its investors time and money down the drain.

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Source:  Forbes (Moor Insights & Strategy).  Paul Smith-Goodson,  Quantum Computing With Particles Of Light: A $215 Million Gamble…

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