Quantum computing is at an interesting point. It’s at the cusp of being mature enough to solve real problems. But like in the early days of personal computers, there are lots of different companies trying different approaches to solving the fundamental physics problems that underly the technology, all while another set of startups is looking ahead and thinking about how to integrate these machines with classical computers — and how to write software for them.
At Disrupt 2020 on September 14-18, we will have a panel with D-Wave CEO Alan Baratz, Quantum Machines co-founder and CEO Itamar Sivan and IonQ president and CEO Peter Chapman. The leaders of these three companies are all approaching quantum computing from different angles, yet all with the same goal of making this novel technology mainstream.
D-Wave may just be the best-known quantum computing company thanks to an early start and smart marketing in its early days. Alan Baratz took over as CEO earlier this year after a few years as chief product officer and executive VP of R&D at the company. Under Baratz, D-Wave has continued to build out its technology — and especially its D-Wave quantum cloud service. Leap 2, the latest version of its efforts, launched earlier this year. D-Wave’s technology is also very different from that of many other efforts thanks to its focus on quantum annealing. That drew a lot of skepticism in its early days, but it’s now a proven technology and the company is now advancing both its hardware and software platform.
Like Baratz, IonQ’s Peter Chapman isn’t a founder either. Instead, he was the engineering director for Amazon Prime before joining IonQ in 2019. Under his leadership, the company raised a $55 million funding round in late 2019, which the company extended by another $7 million last month. He is also continuing IonQ’s bet on its trapped ion technology, which makes it relatively easy to create qubits and which, the company argues, allows it to focus its efforts on controlling them. This approach also has the advantage that IonQ’s machines are able to run at room temperature, while many of its competitors have to cool their machines to as close to zero Kelvin as possible, which is an engineering challenge in itself, especially as these companies aim to miniaturize their quantum processors.
Quantum Machines plays in a slightly different part of the ecosystem from D-Wave and IonQ. The company, which recently raised $17.5 million in a Series A round, is building a quantum orchestration platform that combines novel custom hardware for controlling quantum processors — because once quantum machines reach a bit more maturity, a standard PC won’t be fast enough to control them — with a matching software platform and its own QUA language for programming quantum algorithms. Quantum Machines is Itamar Sivan’s first startup, which he launched with his co-founders after getting his Ph.D. in condensed matter and material physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Come to Disrupt 2020 and hear from these companies and others on September 14-18. Get a front-row seat with your Digital Pro Pass for just $245 or with a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package for $445. Prices are increasing next week, so grab yours today to save up to $300.
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