QuEra computing emerges from stealth with $17M to launch quantum device

QuEra Computing, a Boston-based quantum computer developer, is coming out of stealth mode with $17 million in funding from Rakuten, Day One Ventures and Frontiers Capital. Angel investors Serguei Beloussov and Paul Maritz also joined in the round.

The startup, which has built a commercially accessible quantum device, will use the fresh capital to develop customized algorithms to leverage the power of its architecture on quantum optimization and quantum simulation.

Its quantum device will be accessible through the cloud next year, and QuEra is already working with several partners to develop and implement the customized algorithms for their applications, Alex Keesling, CEO of QuEra and co-inventor of QuEra’s technology, told TechCrunch. Among its existing customers, the company is working with Rakuten and multiple research scientists, Keesling added.

The QuEra team is building the world’s most powerful quantum computers to take on computational tasks that are currently deemed impossibly hard, Keesling said.

To date, state-of-the-art commercial quantum systems have included approximately 50 interacting quantum bits (qubits). At this scale, these instruments technically can provide a quantum computational advantage over classical computers, but they cannot begin to address practically significant problems. To tackle this challenge, QuEra is focused on making significant advances in two key areas: increasing the number of useful qubits and enhancing their programmability.

QuEra aims to tackle critical but classically intractable problems for commercial applications in optimization, simulation, materials science, pharmaceuticals, finance and machine learning,” Keesling said.

QuEra has completed the construction of their first 256-qubit device, which will soon be accessible to customers. The device holds the promise to prove useful — not years from now — by targeting applications in quantum optimization and quantum simulation. According to the company, this is QuEra’s first step toward addressing “impossible problems” in materials, finance, chemistry, logistics, pharmaceuticals and more.

This [QuEra’s] technology, developed over the past few years at Harvard and MIT, has already demonstrated that it has the ability to easily scale up the number of qubits without losing the crucial quantum mechanical properties,” Keesling said. “From an empty room in 2015 to controlling 51 qubits in 2017 to handling 256 qubits, this technology has the potential to host multiple thousand qubits in a single processor within a few years, without needing major modifications to the architecture.”