London start-up Phasecraft joins IBM network for quantum computing

29 Mar 2021

The IBM Q lab at the TJ Watson Research Center in New York. Image: IBM Q

The software start-up will help the IBM Quantum Network as it looks to commercialise quantum computing across areas such as finance, energy and chemistry.

Phasecraft, a quantum software start-up based in the UK, has joined the IBM Quantum Network to help advance quantum computing research.

The network includes companies, start-ups, research labs and academic institutions, all exploring practical applications for quantum computing across finance, energy, chemistry, machine learning, materials science and more. Members of the IBM Quantum Network have access to advanced quantum computers via the cloud.

Now, Phasecraft will bring its software algorithms optimised for near-term quantum devices to this group. These algorithms are developed with quantum hardware providers such as Google and Rigetti and industry partners including Johnson Matthey.

“We’re at the early days of quantum computing, testing the best applications and capabilities of quantum hardware,” said Phasecraft co-founder Toby Cubitt.

“By working directly with leading quantum hardware providers like IBM, Phasecraft aims to bring forth the timeline for quantum advantage – where quantum computers solve practical problems that are too complex for classical computing systems.”

Phasecraft, which was founded in 2019, recently closed what it described as the largest seed funding round for a UK quantum computing start-up. The company is also leading software development for the first large-scale quantum computer in the UK, which is being built in Oxfordshire.

IBM Quantum Network’s director, Dr Anthony Annunziata, said the group has an “ambitious roadmap to commercialise quantum computing”.

“Getting there will require a growing ecosystem of private companies, academia and government to spark collaboration, develop technology and advance research – all with the goal of establishing and maintaining a quantum industry. We are excited to welcome Phasecraft to the IBM Quantum Network to find new ways to leverage and test IBM Quantum hardware and software for meaningful industry applications.”

Another of Phasecraft’s founders, Ashley Montanaro, added: “Quantum software for today’s quantum hardware needs to account for additional challenges, such as noise and error correction. Considering near-term quantum hardware capabilities, Phasecraft has already made considerable progress lowering the minimum threshold of circuit size and number of qubits needed for running useful quantum applications – like modelling the behaviour of strongly correlated electronic systems.

“With Phasecraft’s collaboration with quantum hardware partners like IBM, we can work directly with quantum computing hardware to come up with novel and creative approaches to maximise near-term performance.”

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021