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Super.tech Secures $1.65M Grant and Launches New Benchmarking Suite for Quantum Computers

Benchmarking

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

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

The company – which is a participant in the Duality accelerator and Argonne National Laboratory’s Chain Reaction Innovations program – was founded in 2020 by Pranav Gokhale, PhD ’20, and Fred Chong, Seymour Goodman Professor in the University’s Department of Computer Science.

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

The new, open-source benchmarking suite is based on an academic paper authored by Super.tech employees and members of EPiQC, a $10 million Expedition in Computing from the National Science Foundation.

“Effective benchmarks can accelerate progress across the entire quantum ecosystem by stimulating investment in the right areas,” said Matt Langione, a partner and leader of the Deep Tech practice at BCG who specializes in quantum computing.

SupermarQ is a scalable suite of benchmarks that measure a machine’s performance on various applications, which mirror real-world domains such as finance, chemistry, energy, and encryption. It assesses how well a device can complete 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 throughout the quantum ecosystem—both with national laboratories and with quantum hardware companies.”

Selecting the correct device is key as quantum computers require different configurations depending on the problem. Benchmarking provides quantifiable feedback from which to measure progress and drive research toward specific goals. Demonstrating the importance of this, DARPA in mid-2021 announced its Quantum Benchmarking program to re-invent key quantum computing metrics that are testable and estimate the required resources needed to reach critical performance thresholds.

“We hope to drive a new way of thinking about quantum evaluation, one that’s based on capabilities, as quantum begins to be integrated into real-world workflows,” said Chong, Super.tech’s chief scientist.

The SupermarQ announcement follows the company’s launch of SuperstaQ, a hardware-agnostic software platform that connects applications to quantum computers from IBM Quantum, IonQ, and Rigetti. The beta launch of SuperstaQ 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 also is part of the IBM Quantum Network, an incubator that provides select startups with access to IBM’s quantum devices, was recognized last year for proposing the best solution to a challenge posed in IBM’s Quantum Open Science Challenge and was awarded a $250,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation.

“The Duality program has enabled us to reach a wide array of customers, investors, and researchers,” noted Gokhale. “We’ve found events like the Corporate Collision particularly valuable as ways to get on the radar of big companies that are looking to take their first steps in the quantum sector.”

“We’ve also benefited immensely from Duality’s Business Liaison program,” he added. “Our Liaison, Brian Tolliver, has taken a deep dive into our business strategy. Having led business development and startup engagement for companies in the technology, logistics, and energy sector, Brian has been able to guide us through the sales process with our beachhead markets.”

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