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Moonshots, Massive ROIs and Tiny Chips: Riverlane’s NQTS 2023 Highlights

Moonshots, Massive ROIs and Tiny Chips: Riverlane’s NQTS 2023 Highlights
9 November, 2023

Last week, the Riverlane team attended the UK’s annual National Quantum Technologies Showcase (NQTS) in London. The event highlighted the impressive progress made during the first 10 years of the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme, backed by £1bn in government co-investment.  

With a further £2.5bn of co-investment committed for the next 10 years, the UK has an opportunity to continue playing an important global role. 

During his keynote, UK Science Minister George Freeman announced how £14m will be spent on a range of quantum technologies. This included two projects where Riverlane will contribute:  

  1. The Scalable Qubit Array Detection for Rydberg Quantum Computers (SQuaQDRQ) with Infleqtion and Riverlane 
  2. Hybrid compilation framework to accelerate quantum application development (CATALYST) with Riverlane amd Rolls-Royce 

Over the last few weeks, Freeman has also been seeking industry insight into what the UK’s ambitious 10-year ‘moonshots’ for quantum technologies should look like. More details are set to follow in the coming weeks.  

During his NQTS talk, Tom Newby, Head of the UK’s new Office for Quantum, said a critical measure of success for the UK is the far larger amount of private investment that the UK’s £2.5bn public investment instigates over the next decade.  

Our CEO and founder, Steve Brierley, also spoke at NQTS, sharing how the UK Government’s 2019 investment of £7.5 million in a seven-company consortium generated £176 million in subsequent private investment and revenue.  

“That 25x return is something to be proud of. When the project began, many thought our projection of £69 million in private funding was too rosy.  In fact, we’ve more than doubled this,” Brierley said. 

The project focused on building the operating system for the first generation of noisy quantum computers (NISQ.OS). It’s a great foundation on which to build the next generation of error-corrected machines. 

Quantum Error Correction (QEC) is the set of technologies that turn unreliable qubits into reliable quantum computers, allowing us to reach the TeraQuop threshold. 

The UK has an early global lead in quantum error correction technology. Riverlane developed the world’s powerful quantum decoder chip this September. It was a huge achievement – and the chip itself became a bit of a superstar.  

We placed the chip in a glass block to share with our development team, partners, investors and to show off at industry events. It got a surprising reaction at NQTS: in a room full of flashy gizmos, hardware stacks and Marvel-quality videos, this tiny chip grabbed everyone’s attention – including George Freeman’s. 

The chip also generated a huge amount of excitement during its launch. Our Head of Silicon, Kauser Johar, sent a glass-clad chip with a handwritten note to Nicolas Delfosse, a scientist leading IonQ's transition to error corrected systems.  

His snapshot and tweet of the chip went viral, as did Arm co-founder Jamie Urquhart's own post in response. Jamie's post included a 1985 picture of the first Arm prototype 7mm 23k transistor chip enclosed in its own glass block.  

Arm and Riverlane's chips - image courtesy of Jamie Urquhart

Now, our remaining few Riverlane chips in glass blocks seem to be on everyone’s Christmas list. We’re keeping them under lock and key. But if you’d like to find out more about our world-leading decoder technology, click here. 

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