Super.tech secures $1.65 million grant and launches new benchmarking suite for quantum computers

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Benchmarking is a cornerstone of the computing industry and is especially important for quantum computing at this stage of development. (Image: iStock.com/Sitthiphong)

Super.tech, a University of Chicago quantum software spin-off, has been selected to receive $1.65 million in funding from the Department of Energy and today announced the release of SupermarQ, a suite of application-centric benchmarking for quantum computers.

The company – which participates in the Duality Accelerator and Chain Reaction Innovations program at Argonne National Laboratory – was founded in 2020 by Pranav Gokhale, PhD ’20, and Fred Chong, Seymour Goodman Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the ‘university.

“Our selection for a Phase II SBIR grant from the Department of Energy will allow us to scale and supercharge our software for quantum computers. The $1.65 million funding will support our core research and development, especially as we roll out SuperstaQ to more end users,” said CEO and co-founder Gokhale.

The new open-source benchmarking suite is based on an academic paper written by employees of Super.tech and members of EPiQC, a $10 million National Science Foundation computing expedition.

“Effective benchmarks can accelerate progress across the quantum ecosystem by driving investment in the right areas,” said Matt Langione, Partner and Deep Tech Practice Leader at BCG, specializing in quantum computing.

SupermarQ is an evolving suite of benchmarks that measure a machine’s performance on various applications, which reflect real-world areas such as finance, chemistry, energy, and encryption. It assesses how well a device can perform optimization, simulation or error correction tasks, among others.

“Our approach illustrates the importance of matching the device architecture to the use case. We believe SupermarQ can become the go-to resource for quantum customers when deciding which device to use,” said Gokhale. “We look forward to collaborating with stakeholders in the quantum ecosystem, both with national laboratories and with quantum hardware companies.”

Selecting the right device is critical because quantum computers require different setups depending on the problem. Benchmarking provides quantifiable feedback from which to measure progress and direct research toward specific goals. Demonstrating the importance of this, DARPA announced in mid-2021 its Quantum Benchmarking Program to reinvent key quantum computing metrics that are testable and estimate the resources needed to reach critical performance thresholds.

“We hope to drive a new way of thinking about quantum, capability-based assessment as quantum begins to be integrated into real-world workflows,” said Chong, chief scientist at Super.tech.

SupermarQ’s announcement follows the company’s launch of SuperstaQ, a hardware-independent software platform that connects applications to quantum computers from IBM Quantum, IonQ and Rigetti. SuperstaQ’s beta launch in August 2021 included engineers and researchers from EPiQC, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Advanced Quantum Testbed (AQT at Berkeley Lab), and Morningstar, the Chicago-based investment firm.

Super.tech, which is also part of IBM’s Quantum Network, an incubator that gives select startups access to IBM’s quantum devices, was recognized last year for coming up with the best solution to a challenge posed by the IBM’s Quantum Open Science Challenge and received a $250,000 Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Science Foundation.

“The Duality program has allowed us to reach a wide range of customers, investors and researchers,” noted Gokhale. “We have found events like the Corporate Collision to be particularly useful in getting noticed by large companies looking to take their first steps into the quantum sector.”

“We have also benefited tremendously from Duality’s business linkage program,” he added. “Our Liaison Officer, Brian Tolliver, has taken a deep dive into our business strategy. Having led business development and start-up engagement for companies in the technology, logistics and energy sectors, Brian was able to guide us through the sales process with our flagship markets.

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