In 2020, Israeli IT company Mellanox hit the headlines when it was bought out for $ 7 billion by US IT giant Nvidia. Mellanox allows the construction of supercomputers by linking many powerful computers together.
Aharon Brodutch, CEO and co-founder of Canadian-Israeli startup Entangled Networks, hopes his company can emulate that success by doing a similar task for quantum computers – widely regarded as the ultra-supercomputers of tomorrow.
The promise of quantum computing – based on the behavior of subatomic particles – is huge, but so far it has failed to deliver on its promises. In theory, a quantum computer could reduce the time of complex calculations from several years to “seconds,” according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. But large quantum machines that could solve complicated problems, develop new materials, and transmit hacker-proof data, are too fragile to be built. They require very cold temperatures and an isolated and quiet environment to operate.
“Every component you add starts to make noise, interfering with other components,” explains Brodutch. “It’s incredibly difficult to grow taller and taller and reduce noise. This is essentially what keeps quantum computers from getting huge in the very near future. “
In quantum computing, information is encoded in qubits, the quantum equivalent of bits in classical computing that have a value of zero or one. With today’s technology, if more than a few dozen qubits are included in the core of a quantum computer, the resulting noise and vibration prevent the machine from performing any serious calculations.
“These computers have insane computing power. But there is a catch: they need millions of qubits to solve these problems, and currently leading systems have less than 100 qubits. How do you take these sophisticated science toy projects and expand them to the point where they can solve problems that are fundamentally unimaginable for conventional computers? Said Brodutch. “You have to go beyond being a science toy, and that’s the solution we’re offering. “
Entangled Networks develops hardware and software to connect multiple quantum computers to maximize their potential. The company is developing interconnects – hardware that connects many smaller quantum computers – potentially allowing thousands or millions of qubits to work together without creating the noise that would disturb them if they were all part of the same device.
“This will create the holy grail of the industry,” said Eli Nir, general partner and investment manager of the Jerusalem-based equity investment platform OurCrowd, which backs the company. “The biggest challenge in quantum computing today is the need to evolve. Tangled is perhaps the only viable approach to solving this problem. “
IBM and other leaders in quantum computing expect to be able to create computers with up to 1,000 qubits by 2024, but the millions of qubits needed to maximize quantum potential remain elusive.
“Going beyond a thousand qubits to reach a million will require a new, bolder vision of integration that has not yet been defined in an evolutionary way,” said Nadav Katz, a quantum information physicist at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “There are some very exciting ideas on how to do this, but this is the next scientific leap that has to happen.”
Brodutch says Entangled Networks has the answer.
“A single-core solution just can never scale to the point where you can have the kind of computer that can solve unimaginable problems,” he says. Entangled’s approach will advance quantum computers “generations in terms of computing power” and will likely be available in a few years, well before the development of larger computing cores, he says.
Brodutch and Nir say the comparison with Mellanox, the third-largest tech release in Israel’s history, is valid.
“The same solution will exist in the quantum,” says Brodutch. “But it’s a whole different task in terms of hardware.”
Based on the principles of quantum mechanics first described by Einstein and his peers, quantum computers use particles like photons, electrons, and atoms to encode information, offering significant advantages in speed and safety. compared to conventional computers. Instead of encoding information in binary digits, or sets of zeros and ones, called bits, each quantum bit or quibit can be not only a zero or a one, but also consistently suspended anywhere in between. states, dramatically increasing computing power and memory while simultaneously processing an exponential number of possible states.
Quantum networks could also offer major security benefits, as information would travel in photons of light that may be physically distant from each other, but linked together by a concept called entanglement. If a hacker attempted to access these particles, the entanglement would be damaged and the information would be scrambled, allowing eavesdropping to be detected and prevented.
Although most quantum computers are still confined to labs, the market is growing by more than 30% each year and is expected to reach $ 1.7 billion by 2026, according to MarketsandMarkets. Quantum computing is poised to transform many industries, starting with chemical and pharmaceutical research, and “anything that requires in-depth chemistry simulations at the atomic level,” explains Brodutch.
“If you’re trying to develop a new drug, or a new battery, or a new fertilizer or a new material, what you do today is go to the lab and start experimenting, but it costs very expensive and time consuming. -consume, ”he explains. “What you would like to do is run a simulation on your computer. But a typical computer simply cannot meet this challenge, not even a supercomputer.
But a quantum computer could.
“You just run simulations on your quantum computer until you find the solution, the right molecule,” he says.
The US Department of Energy, with 50 partner organizations, is building a nationwide quantum internet with a more secure mechanism for financial transactions and other sensitive data, eliminating the need for encryption. Google Inc., which was the first in the world to demonstrate the advantage of quantum computers over ordinary computers, started a quantum computing division, as did IBM, Intel, and Microsoft. Chinese scientists have used quantum computers to perform calculations that would be impossible for traditional computers.
“Quantum computing is making steady and remarkable progress,” Katz says. “However, it is important to understand the magnitude of the scientific and technical challenge involved. It is extraordinarily difficult and it will take years of continuous effort to move forward. “
Quantum computing could contribute to the fields of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, financial modeling, logistics optimization and many more, Katz explains.
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