Rolls-Royce Spearheads Quantum Computing Collaboration with Riverlane and Xanadu

H Hannan

Rolls-Royce Spearheads Quantum Computing Collaboration with Riverlane and Xanadu
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Rolls-Royce, a global leader in industrial technology, has been awarded CAD $500,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to bolster the growing partnership between the UK and Canada in quantum computing technology and expertise.

The collaborative project, named CATALYST, aims to create a hybrid quantum-classical framework that allows conventional computers to instruct quantum computers. This groundbreaking approach will enable Rolls-Royce to evaluate and implement new quantum algorithms, dramatically reducing the time required from several hours to mere minutes. The increased efficiency in future product design processes aligns with the first mission of the UK Government’s recently announced National Quantum Strategy.

Rolls-Royce has partnered with UK-based quantum error correction company Riverlane and Ontario-based quantum computing company Xanadu on this project, building upon their existing collaborations.

Leigh Lapworth, Rolls-Royce Fellow in Computational Science, emphasized the significance of this industry-led quantum computing research and development collaboration. He stated, “Our shared vision and approach will make us one of the first companies to benefit from fault-tolerant computers. The techniques we develop in this project will be those that enable us to benefit from the UK’s quantum pathway of a million error-corrected quantum operations in 2028; a billion in 2032; and a trillion in 2035.”

CATALYST leverages the unique expertise of each partner: Rolls-Royce’s industrial applications, Riverlane’s quantum algorithms, and Xanadu’s hybrid quantum-classical compilation.

Steve Brierley, Riverlane’s CEO, highlighted the importance of improving quantum algorithms to unlock world-changing applications sooner. He emphasized the need for work across the quantum computing stack to achieve the UK Government’s targets of reaching the MegaQuOp threshold by 2028 and TeraQuOp threshold by 2035.

Rolls-Royce’s research models currently solve equations with several billion variables, with the goal of reaching a trillion and beyond. However, it will take at least a decade for quantum computers to achieve these scales. Many processing steps will still be conducted on classical computers, which can dominate the end-to-end run time and prevent even an infinitely fast quantum computer from delivering a meaningful advantage. By accelerating these steps, users can investigate more demanding test cases and develop the tools and software needed to demonstrate industrial advantage.

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