Diraq on track to build ‘world’s first’ quantum computer

Brandon How

Sydney-based startup Diraq has checked off another technical milestone that it says keeps it on track to build the world’s first fully error-corrected quantum computer, ahead of local and global rivals.

Gunning for the production of quantum computer by 2028, the timeline potentially puts Diraq ahead of US-based PsiQuantum which has been backed by almost $1 billion of Australian and Queensland government investment.

The company on Thursday announced it had set a new record in terms of control accuracy for qubits using its technology — a key quantum computing proof point, according to its founder and UNSW professor of quantum engineering Andrew Dzurak.

In another important step, a sample of Diraq’s chips will be manufactured later this year by GlobalFoundries, one of the world’s biggest semiconductor makers.

Diraq founder and chief executive Andrew Dzurak with investors. Image: Diraq

There are no chip foundries in Australia capable of the scale that Diraq requires for making its qubits – so the company has been building partnerships with foundries in the US and Europe.

Through a partnership with European research consortium Imec the Sydney startup has now recorded a control accuracy of 99.9 per cent for a qubit using industry-standard CMOS materials on a 300mm silicon wafer.

“This relationship is crucial for Diraq’s technology roadmap, through which we intend to achieve a fully error-corrected quantum computing system ahead of our competitors,” Professor Dzurak said.

Diraq uses its patented CMOS qubits with existing semiconductor technologies, giving it a potentially easier path to commercial viability in quantum computing compared to alternatives like superconducting qubits, photonics qubits or ion qubits.

Professor Dzurak, who earlier this year secured another $23 million for the company he spun out of UNSW, has spent the last 25 years developing the underlying silicon quantum dot technology.

He says Diraq will develop the world’s first commercial quantum computing system in just four years.

The timeline puts Diraq ahead of PsiQuantum, the US firm founded by Australians that has received almost $1 billion from the Queensland and federal governments to pursue its version of a fault tolerant quantum computer in Brisbane.

While yet to be proven, the computers have the potential to perform calculations far beyond the capabilities of classical computers.

“Commercially viable quantum computing capable of revolutionary applications, including the design of targeted pharmaceuticals and advanced materials, must employ quantum error correction processes that will require many millions of qubits,” Professor Dzurak said.

“Our roadmap to develop quantum processor chips on this scale leverages existing semiconductor foundry capabilities which have benefited from over 60 years of development and trillions of dollars of investment.”

The record control accuracy announced Thursday comes on the back of a decade of research and represents a crucial proof point for integrating high-quality qubits with standard CMOS transistors on a single chip, according to the company.

Diraq’s chips will this year be manufactured by GlobalFoundries, a New York headquartered multinational semiconductor contract manufacturing and design company with facilities in the US, Europe and Singapore. Diraq says the chips will monolithically integrate silicon qubit devices with standard transistors, an important step in increasing the qubit numbers on a chip.

Australia’s national quantum strategy last year set an ambitious goal to develop the world’s first error-corrected computer, with the Albanese government going on to lead a $940 million investment in PsiQuantum, which is pursuing a novel photonics-based approach and is targeting delivery in 2029.

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1 Comment
  1. tim@duignan.net 1 month ago

    Is there any paper or any evidence for this claim?

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