With the help of machine learning, NoVa’s QCI wants to change the way we think about quantum

Quantum Software Company of Leesburg, Virginia Quantum Computing Inc (QCI) has made a lot of progress since its inception in 2018. But to truly understand where the business can go, COO and CTO William McGann Told Technically that you have to bring it back to what he calls the “quantum nature of things” – the idea that we’re all a bit quantum.

“You are nothing more than a collection of electromagnetic fields that interact and create protons and electrons,” McGann said. “So if you believe that, then there’s a lot I can determine about you, uniquely, with quantum measurement.

There’s still a lot to cover to really understand this aspect, McGann noted, but QCI is working to create quantum capabilities for the everyday. This month, the company released its QAmplifier suite: an agnostic software platform that aims to boost quantum hardware and improve its capabilities.

Current quantum processing unit hardware has two main approaches: the gate model, used by players like College Park, Maryland. IonQ and IBM; and annealed, used by Wave D. Both, according to QCI, have limits in the number of variables and the complexity of the problems they can solve with the quantum. With the gate model, which McGann says uses neutral atoms, ions, and superconductors for problem solving, the QAmplify software uses machine learning to optimize problem solving. Machine learning helps create a more precise starting point for expressing the problem and produces a better answer faster, McGann said.

By using this method in the gate model – and its additional annealing capability – QCI says it can increase the size of the problems it deals with. With the gate model, he says he can increase abilities by 500%, as well as up to 2,000% annealing. In practice, this means that a computer using Gate Model software could solve a problem with 600 variables (it is currently limited to 127). An annealing computer could increase up to 4,000 variables.

“People are very head over heels with their own technology right now in the industry,” McGann said. “And sometimes in nascent industries it takes a while for people to get back on top. But I’d like to think, to a small extent, that we’re helping the industry do that.

Where is the quantum going?

For QCI, the last few years have been very promising in the quantum market. IonQ reached an IPO in 2021. At home, QCI made its mark last year by moving from trading on the OTCQB to Nasdaq Capital Market. And last week, the company reached its merger agreement to acquire QPhoton.

Bill McGann. (Courtesy picture)

Now he is working with external partners like IonQ to validate the technology in a third-party environment. McGann hopes to create systems that can house thousands of qubits, the tiny particles that help do the math, in the coming months. Once this is complete, the technology can be used to help solve problems in supply chain, logistics, and even some financial applications.

“We understand where the limits of a system are, and we have a very comfortable track record that we can expand its capability [with]”Mcgann said.

Even with new technologies, McGann noted that the quantum, as a whole, is still in its first generation. In McGann’s view, it is still in the early stages of moving out of academia and into a more commercial market. QCI, he said, remains for now where it was born in the quantum computing industry. But, if you also include the hardware, there is room to move into sensing and imaging and take full advantage of the quantum nature of things.

“We want to be part of the evolution of the physics debate industry – although we’re happy to do that, but along the way, measure the machine in a meaningful way,” McGann said. “So we think we can make a contribution and I’m looking forward to doing that.”

Knowing that humans, ultimately, are a collection of protons and electrons, McGann believes there are nearly endless possibilities to explore using technology in the quantum nature of things. While visual scans may be limited to measuring the visual parts of a person or object, quantum measurements can create a personalized flow of internal and external information. McGann described it as “a movie made for me” to take away important information about a subject.

Given its potential to predict future problems, it has noted tons of quantum applications in healthcare, tech industries, and beyond.

“Quantum computing is really scratching the surface of the quantum nature of things,” McGann said.


Sherry J. Basler