According to chinesenewyear.net and Chinese English-language website, ‘pigs are associated with the Earthly Branch. They are the symbol of wealth and their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune’. 2019, as it so happens, is the Year of the Pig. Does this bode well for one Chinese startup in the quantum computing space?
Origin Quantum, founded in Hefei, China 2017 as a spinoff from Hefei’s University of Science and Technology, is an independent startup whose goal is to be the first private company in China to create a prototype of a working quantum computer.
Started by Guo-ping Guo, founder and Chief Scientist of the startup, and a professor at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) along with his co-founder and Scientific Advisor, Guang-can Guo, these two Ph.D. graduates are among a new model of entrepreneurs in China who intend to put their country — so long in the technological wilderness — at the forefront of innovation in the quantum computing (QC) space.
According to the company’s website, the startup’s mission statement is:
— to stand shoulder to shoulder with the top international quantum computing companies, Origin Quantum wants to master core quantum computing technology
— and be a leading role in China’s quantum computing industry
— while advancing in quantum computing technology research and product development
— and promoting the industrialization of quantum computing, and cultivating high-quality talents
Whether the entrepreneurs can live up to their promises is another thing. Yet, with the Chinese government’s pledge of multi-billion-dollar investment over the next decade in QC technology, this will surely go some way in helping them. One of the first initiatives by President Xi is to build a National Laboratory for Quantum Information Science (its schedule opening is sometime next year) which will become a central hub for QC research and a focal point for commercial ideas in the space.
Proof that China is on the right road in achieving its technological goals is that in 2017 the country filed nearly double the number of patents as the US in quantum technology.
Origin Quantum’s full-stack QC solutions include the development of a two-qubit chip based on quantum dot technology, as well as a six-qubit chip that relies on superconducting technology. In regard to software, the startup has already released Qpanda 2.0 on GitHub. This is a development kit that can be utilized to run experiments and build quantum circuits on quantum computers. All in all, the startup hopes to be a leader in the field of quantum chips, measurement and control systems while also offering AI and quantum cloud services for quantum hardware chips and simulators.
As is with many things in China, they aren’t giving the game away as to how well they are advancing. But with a government ready to back QC initiatives at every turn, the United States most definitely has a fight on its hands to be the preeminent nation in QC technology.
This challenge, coincidentally, has spurned China on even more since Google’s ‘so-called’ achievement of Quantum Supremacy occurred in September of this year. And with startups such as Origin Quantum taking the lead, we can be sure that they will play a crucial part in the two-horse quantum race in the years to come.