We were seeking companies to implement industry-relevant use cases on our DLR QCI quantum computers in the ALQU project. The bidding consortium Multiverse Computing × Single Quantum impressed us with their proposal to improve superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPD): the two quantum start-ups will use a material science quantum simulation to calculate the refractive index of a superconducting thin film – a task for which we expect a quantum advantage, even on quantum hardware available in the short to medium term.
Multiverse Computing is developing software for this purpose and implementing it on one of the DLR QCI quantum computers. Single Quantum will compare the solutions calculated on quantum hardware with real measured values and thus demonstrate how well such problems can be modelled on quantum computers. A positive side effect: starting from this specific problem, we will also be able to deduce if and how this approach is suitable for solving other industry-relevant problems.
Algorithms for quantum computer development in hardware-software codesign
A Key Enabling Technology
Single photon detectors are an enormously important enabling technology for a wide range of quantum technology applications, for example for quantum sensors, quantum communication and various quantum computing platforms such as photonic and spin-based quantum computers. In their bid for the ALQU tender, Single Quantum, as a manufacturer of such detectors, and Multiverse Computing, with its quantum simulation platform, have proposed a research and development project that could revolutionise the way photon detectors are built. With unique expertise in hardware manufacturing and quantum simulation using quantum mechanical and quantum-inspired computing methods, a special project is possible that clearly expresses ALQU’s approach: In the NISQ era, quantum hardware and software must be developed together to reach quantum advantages in the near future.
The bridge between hardware and software
If you want to develop applications with a quantum advantage, there is no way around a close codesign of hardware and software. For the foreseeable future, the key figures and error models of the real hardware must be incorporated into the algorithms and, conversely, the hardware must specifically support the efficient execution of the algorithms and applications. With the DLR Institute for Software Technology’s ALQU project, we are building exactly this bridge between hardware and software. It aims to efficiently compile circuits on quantum computing hardware and develop customised quantum algorithms for industry-relevant computing problems that can no longer be solved with conventional computers.
ALQU also involves companies in the development of targeted applications in hardware/software codesign, for example the start-ups HQS Quantum Simulations from Karlsruhe and IQM Germany from Munich in the development of innovative materials and software for the simulation of material properties and material dynamics on quantum computers or the hardware manufacturer Planqc and the management consultancy D-fine in the development of compiler software for quantum computers.