UCD spin-out Equal1 wins prestigious quantum prize

7 Jun 2024

From left: Jason Lynch and Louis Barson. Image: Equal1

CEO Jason Lynch said the award ‘fuels’ Equal1’s commitment to advancing technologies that make quantum computing more practical and accessible.

Equal1 has won a prestigious Institute of Physics award for its advancements in quantum computing.

At an event organised by The Economist in London yesterday (6 June), Equal1 was declared this year’s winner of the Quantum Business Innovation and Growth prize. The award recognises successful SMEs that commercialise innovations in quantum computing.

Equal1 is a spin-out of University College Dublin (UCD). Based in Dublin, the company has developed a quantum system-on-a-chip processor that integrates a full quantum system onto a single chip.

Its rack-mounted quantum computers are powered by UnityQ, a version of the quantum system-on-a-chip that integrates quantum and classical components onto a single silicon chip. The idea is to enable the development of compact and functional quantum computers.

Traditional computers use bits to store and manipulate information, but quantum computers rely on quantum bits or qubits.

While the ability to reliably control a qubit – an important achievement for realising functional quantum computers – is a difficult task, once achieved quantum computers are expected to revolutionise everything from climate studies and finance to drug discovery in medicine.

Equal1 CEO Jason Lynch said that winning the Institute of Physics quantum prize marks a “significant milestone” for the company co-founded by Dirk Leipold and Mike Asker.

“Our vision is centred on developing compact, rack-mounted quantum computers that seamlessly integrate into standard data centre infrastructures. This achievement is made possible by our groundbreaking quantum system-on-chip technology powered by the UnityQ chip which is produced using standard foundry processes,” he said.

According to Lynch, the integration of classical and quantum components onto a single silicon chip allows for housing a complete quantum computer, including cryogenic components, within a single compact unit.

“This recognition fuels our commitment to advancing this technology, making quantum computing more practical and accessible.”

While Equal1 emerged victorious among all UK and Ireland companies, there were two runner-ups: NIQS Tech, which is developing a quantum-based glucose monitoring sensor for diabetes management, and Aquark Technologies, which is developing a cold matter platform for sensing and computing applications.

Equal1 will receive £10,000 as a cash prize and mentoring from Quantum Exponential, a UK venture capital firm focused on quantum technologies. It will also have access to the Institute of Physics network of industrial quantum physicists, engineers and entrepreneurs and its accelerator workspace, as well as a presence at an upcoming showcase exhibition at the Palace of Westminster.

“As the Institute of Physics represents the UK and Ireland, it’s particularly nice to be celebrating an Irish winner of the prize,” said Louis Barson, the institute’s director of science, innovation and skills. “If you are thinking about how your organisation can leverage the benefits of quantum – please join us and get involved!”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic