The latest injection of $450 million into PsiQuantum is one of the most significant votes of confidence that a breakthrough can be made – even in the face of competition from heavyweights such as Google and IBM. To date, PsiQuantum has raised $665m.
Quantum computers use the characteristics of quantum physics to store data and perform computations which makes them exceed even the best of supercomputers.
PsiQuantum’s proposed version will use light signals and existing semiconductor technology, to build the world’s first million-qubit computer, the size it says will be needed to carry out useful calculations.
A fully-functioning quantum computer would have far-reaching implications in medicine, AI, molecular modelling and climate, among many other fields that could greatly benefit.
It’s another sign that’s there’s a burgeoning appetite to make progress in the industry more actionable. This follows data collected through Accenture’s UK Tech Talent Tracker which shows a resurging demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and Quantum Computing skills in Scotland.
PsiQuantum, which was launched by professors at the University of Bristol and Imperial College London, saw its latest injection from backers including BlackRock, Microsoft and Scotland’s Baillie Gifford.
The founders started the company using research developed at Bristol and Imperial, but were urged to move to the US by an investor – and did so in 2016 – who said they would find it easier to raise funds.
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Despite this, PsiQuantum maintain an interest in establishing a second hub in the UK or Europe, which could include a research centre or even its own quantum computer.
Jeremy O’Brien, PsiQuantum’s Chief Executive and one of its co-founders said this year:
We’ve maintained links with the UK and in Europe and are in the process of globalising the company. We’re in the process of setting up discussions with UK and EU governments on where we will open up.”
“We believe that there’s a real opportunity here to anchor a global hub around this. There are probably going to be two or three global hubs for quantum computing, and you’d probably put money on the US and China [being two of them].”
Companies such as Google and IBM are investing heavily in quantum computing, while Chinese scientists recently claimed to have followed Google in achieving “quantum supremacy”, building a quantum computer that can outperform a traditional one at a task.