The story behind this Bangalore-based quantum computing startup

Abhishek was pursuing areas of high performance computing during his PhD at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His job was to perform large-scale simulations. It was during this time that his college installed a supercomputer in the institute – the 24th largest supercomputer. He was naturally very excited. The excitement was short-lived as he realized he couldn’t run his code on the newly commissioned supercomputer.

“I had written a billion lines of code that I couldn’t run on the new system. The previous system I was working with was taken out of service. We moved from CPU to GPU, and I was working with legacy Fortran code which is purely the core of the CPU. I had to resort to smaller clusters that were available at the university,” Abhishek said. As the old saying goes about turning obstacles into opportunities, this challenge was a turning point for Abhishek.

Build BosonQ Psi

He then began his research work in accelerated computing using GPUs. He realized that migrating old technology to a new architecture was not enough to get the most optimal results. An entrepreneurial drive and the sheer joy of finding an area he felt could benefit from his solution led to the creation of BosonQ Psi.

Abhishek Chopra partnered with Rut Lineswala and Jash Minocha to found the company. This two-year-old company is a software company that performs simulations using quantum computing. The team developed simulation capabilities using a hybrid infrastructure of quantum computers and high-performance classical computers. “We are building BQ bi, a simulation software, which integrates quantum algorithms. It is able to access quantum hardware to give these simulations much faster, with much better accuracy and lowering the cost to the client. I would say the technology we are working on is not just cutting edge, it is cutting edge,” Abhishek said.

According to Abhishek, the company has four main segments. The first is the Core Quantum Computing Group which typically includes professionals with expertise in applied mathematics. The second group is the one doing the simulation – writing efficient algorithms, testing them and running them. The third is the core software development group, and finally, the management and operations team.

In August, BosonQ Psi raised $525,000 in a pre-seed funding round. Abhishek said apart from talent acquisition, the fund will be used for product development. Moreover, the company has only one office in India, in the near future it plans to expand to Europe and North America.

Opportunities with quantum computing

“As founders of a start-up in the field of quantum computing, we realized that quantum is not very different from classical computing. I mean some of the major challenges of both technologies are similar,” Abhishek said.

But one thing he maintained equivocally throughout the conversation with Analytics India Magazine is the huge opportunity it offers – especially in the case of India. “I haven’t witnessed the internet boom or the classical computing boom myself, but I see quantum computing myself. I have to say it’s ‘quantum’ in nature. Now , there are so many Quibits technologies coming to market, so many hardware companies emerging – the pace is very encouraging,” Chopra said.

He further added that quantum computing is no longer just a “fancy field”; instead, it’s next-in-line technology. “Companies have shifted from asking ‘what is it’ to ‘how can we benefit from it.’ It’s the biggest mindset shift I’ve seen,” he said.

He said the quantum ecosystem is very encouraging in India. “I think the biggest revolution in India came in the 2020-2021 period, with IBM introducing qiskit and all the summer schools they ran in the 2020-2021 period. It did a great job of raising awareness on the ground,” he said.

He believes that even if there is no shortage of talent in the country, those entering the labor market should reposition themselves to acquire skills suitable for the quantum industry. Finally, he believes that an industry can only be so dependent on government and academia and that there should be concerted efforts to encourage businesses in the field.

At this juncture, it is important to note that the then Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, said in the Union Budget 2020 announcement that India would invest Rs 8,000 crore over the next five years in the National Mission on Quantum Technology or Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST) program.

About Mariel Baker

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