Seven QuEra Computing Projects Awarded DARPA IMPAQT Contracts to Advance Quantum Algorithms for Neutral-Atom Quantum Computers

25 October, 2023 11:11 am

Press release QuEra Computing Inc., 23 Oct 2023

QuEra Selected for Two Projects to Drive Further Advancements in Neutral Atom-Based Quantum Machine Learning and Error Correction with Logical Gates; Moody’s, Harvard University, The University of Padova, BlueQubit, and Polaris Quantum Biotech Recieve Awards for Projects Running on QuEra Neutral-Atom Quantum Computers

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, October 23, 2023 – QuEra Computing, the leader in neutral-atom quantum computers, today announced that it has received two grants from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of the Imagining Practical Applications for a Quantum Tomorrow (IMPAQT) program to advance the state-of-the-art in quantum algorithms and application development. The two grants awarded to QuEra are for “Quantum Reservoir Learning using Neutral Atoms and its Applications” and “Error-Corrected Quantum Architectures Based on Transversal Logical Gates.” In addition, five of QuEra’s partners also received DARPA IMPAQT grants for their projects conducted on QuEra neutral atom-based quantum computers.

The DARPA IMPAQT program funds novel applications and algorithms that can use practical quantum platforms that could be demonstrated in the next few years. IMPAQT seeks to link quantum computing researchers to application domain experts working on classical platforms to address their target problems.

QuEra’s technology is built on large-scale arrays of neutral atoms. It currently offers users up to 256 qubits on its Aquila-class machines, available for access on a major public cloud platform, and the company is actively working towards scaling up to much higher numbers. QuEra’s designs feature a unique combination of system size, coherence, and an innovative analog quantum processing mode that provides new ways to solve machine learning, optimization, and simulation problems. Furthermore, Aquila machines offer the added benefit of its FPQA™ technology, a field-programmable qubit array that provides flexible reconfiguration of its qubit positioning, comparable to designing a new chip layout for each computation. The hardware is complemented by Bloqade™, an open-source software package that assists with expressing and testing problems in this new way. 

The first QuEra project to receive a DARPA IMPAQT grant is focused on Quantum Reservoir Learning using Neutral Atoms and its Applications” and is based on the team’s previous quantum machine learning proof-of-concept of the method for MNIST handwritten digit data sets. In the 12-month project, QuEra will advance this proof-of-concept, turning it into a full-fledged demonstration at scale, showing how a classification problem of practical interests can be solved using QuEra’s neutral-atom quantum hardware, determining the performance of the method, and comparing that to other classical approaches. QuEra will enhance the method’s applicability by determining further strategies to encode problems in the hardware, enabling the pursuit of further applications to real-life use cases and investigating the advantage with larger N*q, where N is the circuit depth, and q is the number of qubits.

The second project, “Error-Corrected Quantum Architectures Based on Transversal Logical Gates,” aims to enhance existing surface code quantum computation schemes with the use of transversal logical entangling gates, analyzing their implementation and performance in detail on state-of-the-art

neutral atom array quantum computers. QuEra will also investigate the savings in the concrete setting of key algorithmic subroutines and small-scale quantum algorithms. This has the potential to reduce the space-time resources required per gate from O(d3) to O(d2), allowing an order-of-magnitude (10x) reduction in physical q*N resources to implement a logical circuit.

“We are honored to be recipients of DARPA’s IMPAQT grants, which serve as a testament to the groundbreaking work we’re doing in the realm of neutral-atom quantum computing,” said Alex Keesling, CEO, QuEra. “These grants will push the boundaries of what’s possible in optimization and machine learning. As we continue to scale our neutral-atom machines, we’re not just advancing QuEra’s capabilities; we’re contributing to the broader quantum ecosystem.”

The five partners that were awarded DARPA IMPAQT  grants that are also running on QuEra’s quantum computers are focusing their research in a number of areas, including:

  • Moody’s – Predicting events impacting insurers.
  • Harvard – Analog-digital quantum machine learning on programmable neutral-atom quantum simulators.
  • BlueQubit – Areas where classical methods fall short, particularly in Gibbs sampling.
  • Polaris Quantum Biotech – Quantum-aided drug discovery.
  • The University of Padova – Numerical benchmarking of quantum simulations to be run on QuEra’s hardware.

About QuEra

QuEra Computing is the leader in commercializing quantum computers using neutral atoms—widely recognized as a highly promising quantum modality. Based in Boston and built on pioneering research from nearby Harvard University and MIT, QuEra operates the world’s largest publicly accessible quantum computer, available over a major public cloud and for on-premises delivery. QuEra is developing large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computers to tackle classically intractable problems, becoming the partner of choice in the quantum field. Simply put, QuEra is the best way to quantum. For more information, visit us at and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Merrill Freund

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