Pasqal and IBM Join Forces

Pasqal and IBM Join Forces

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IBM Pasqal
IBM Pasqal
IBM Pasqal

Why have Pasqal and IBM Joined Forces ?


So what would IBM a leading Quantum Computing company and French Quantum platform leader Pasqal, announce a plan to join forces, what IBM already has it's own Quantum computing platform?

The collaboration aims to develop a unified approach to quantum-centric supercomputing, promoting advanced research in chemistry and materials science. Together with leading institutions in high-performance computing, IBM and Pasqal are set to lay the groundwork for integrating quantum computing with classical computing to shape the future of supercomputers.

Why not use the IBM Quantum platform?

IBM of course has it's own Quantum platform, although it is important to note that both IBM's and Pasqals are different. Neutral atoms quantum technology, which is what the Pasqal platform is based on offers significant benefits in terms of scalability, longer coherence times, flexible connectivity, and the potential to operate at higher temperatures. These advantages make neutral atoms a promising candidate for building large-scale, practical quantum computers.

On the other hand, superconducting transmon qubits (like those used by IBM benefit from a more mature technological foundation, faster gate operations, and strong coupling mechanisms. The choice between these technologies depends on the specific requirements of the quantum computing application and the trade-offs between qubit performance, scalability, and operational complexity. Effectively its a horses for courses argument as to which one works best, based on the task at hand.

Why are they working together?

A significant objective of this partnership is achieving utility-scale industry adoption in materials science and chemistry. Utility-scale refers to performance and reliability levels suitable for large-scale industrial applications, beyond just small-scale or experimental uses. Reaching utility-scale is critical because it means the quantum computing solutions are robust, scalable, and practical for real-world industry needs, especially in complex fields like chemistry and materials science.

Quantum computers are particularly effective in chemistry because they can simulate molecular interactions at the quantum level, which classical computers find challenging. Many problems in molecular chemistry are NP-hard, simply this means that they require significant computational resources, this means they are currently impractical to solve with classical computers, even super computers. NP-hard problems are those for which no quick (polynomial time) solving algorithms are known, making them especially difficult.

By combining supercomputers together with Quantum processing then each component; the quantum on Pasqal platform and the traditional on the IBM supercomputer can work together with each being allocated different computational tasks. Although this is a dramatic oversimplification, they layman can think of it as the Quantum side being fed the computations it's best at and the classical side being fed the computations that are best suited to classical computing, likewise within that architecture there may be a computation better suited to IBM quantum, and one better suited to Pasqal Quantum.

What is an Open Source Integration Architecture ?

The companies are focusing on defining a software integration architecture for a quantum-centric supercomputer. This architecture will enable different quantum computers and classical computing clusters to work together seamlessly. Essentially, a software integration architecture is a technology framework that manages and coordinates computational tasks across these diverse systems. The goal is to ensure smooth operation and efficient task distribution between both IBM and Pasqal platforms. Importantly, both envision an open-source integration, involving the technical community. They also plan to co-sponsor a regional HPC technical forum in Germany, with future expansions to other regions.


IBM Quantum For Chemistry



So What Is In The IBM and Pasqal Stack?

IBM and Pasqal aim to advance the use of quantum computing in these areas by leveraging their full-stack quantum computing expertise. In this context, "full-stack" means they have comprehensive capabilities across all layers of quantum technology—from hardware to software, including algorithms and user interfaces. This holistic approach is vital for creating integrated solutions that can tackle complex computational challenges, or as per the previous example define what part of the system tackles the computation it is best suited to.

Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President, IBM Quantum said, “Quantum-centric supercomputing is the future of high-performance computing and is the way to achieve near-term quantum advantage in chemistry, materials science and other scientific applications. This collaboration with Pasqal will ensure that this future is open and agnostic to the hardware modality, creating more value for our clients and users. I look forward to Pasqal joining us in bringing quantum-centric supercomputing to the world,”.

What is the commercial reason for the IBM and Pasqal Partnership?

What this means commercially and in practice is that IBM will probably expand who they are working with to technologies that can bring value to their customers, and although this agreement with Pasqal is important for Pasqal, it is indeed important to note that IBM are working with many partners in the Quantum Computing sector.

It may be that the requirement has been driven by a significant customer, which given Frances prevalence of pharmaceutical companies and their penchant for supporting French technology companies doesn't seem too unlikely.

Also likely, is IBM being smart and ensuring it has operability with the platform which is seen as being a French national Quantum Platform, even though the lack of Quantum Tweezers offered by competitor and also a French Quantum computing platform Crystal is also starting to get a lot of attention from prospective investors due to its potentially superior decoherence capabilities.

The other reason is likely that IBM have more than one dog in this race, their operating platform Qiskit, the World’s Most Performant Quantum Software will maintain its prominence by being embedded and interoperable with as many platforms as possible.

IBM and Pasqal will continue working with the Materials working group established by IBM last year, exploring the best methods to build workflows for utility-scale computation in chemistry. By combining the strengths of both quantum and classical computing, this collaboration aims to develop practical, scalable solutions to some of the most challenging problems in chemistry and materials science.

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