Israel aims to build its own upgradable quantum computer

Crop of cutting-edge companies from home and abroad contributing tech to Israel National Quantum Initiative

Israel has selected a group of companies to help deliver a functioning quantum computer for the nation's commercial and research communities.

The Israel Innovation Authority announced a total budget of 200 million Israeli new shekels ($58 million), of which half is being allocated for the establishment of a Quantum Computing Center, which will be part of the Israel National Quantum Initiative (INQI).

The center is anticipated to be operational within 12-18 months, initially with a quantum system operating with "over 50 qubits."

In a statement, Israel's Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Orit, Farkash Hacohen, said the establishment of the Quantum Computing Center will constitute a significant leap forward in Israel's civil and technological resilience as well as promoting Israeli industry.

Leading the quantum computing project is Quantum Machines, a Tel-Aviv-based startup that focuses not on trying to build quantum processors itself, but on developing the hardware and software infrastructure required to operate quantum systems.

Also included in the consortium of companies involved is Elbit Systems, an Israeli defense electronics company, with Netherlands-based QuantWare providing superconducting Quantum Processing Units (QPUs), ColdQuanta adding its quantum computing technology based on chilled atoms, and ORCA Computing bringing its photonic quantum memory technology.

The system will thus include three different quantum processing technologies initially.

Other consortium members include Germany-based ParTec AG, which is supplying high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure plus services for the integration of HPC and quantum computing, while quantum development tools and benchmarking software are to be provided by Classiq and Super.tech.

Quantum Machines said that its technology, the Quantum Orchestration Platform, will form a key part of the INQI system. The actual quantum computer itself will allow for the use of a variety of qubit technologies, with a component-based approach enabling parts of the system to be upgraded to future quantum technologies.

This strategy is intended to ensure that the quantum computer developed for the INQI can be updated to keep it at the cutting edge as quantum technology continues to advance, rather than locking in technology decisions made today.

"The open architecture approach that Quantum Machines and our world-leading partners in the consortium enable, will ensure compatibility with the quantum technologies of the future," said Quantum Machines co-founder and CEO Itamar Sivan.

He added that the aim was to allow the center's quantum computer to scale from tens of qubits today to potentially hundreds and thousands of qubits over the next few years.

"Our goal is to give Israeli companies access to the most advanced quantum technologies and services so that they can develop deep quantum expertise across industry and academia. This expertise will allow Israeli companies across a broad range of sectors and industries to gain a leading global position," Sivan said.

Matthew Brisse, research vice president at Gartner, told us via an emailed statement: "We will see more of this as quantum begins to impact global business and national security from a defensive, offensive and the potential for technological advantage. An example last May, the White House issued a National Security Memorandum on Promoting the United States Leadership in Quantum Computing while Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Cryptographic Systems." ®

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