Quantum startups Pasqal and Qu&Co merge and promise 1,000 qubits by 2023


Hardware company uses neutral atom design while algorithm experts integrate quantum algorithms into existing software platforms.

quantum computing qubit

Image: Shutterstock/Production Perig

Pasqal is combining its neutral atom-based hardware with Qu&Co’s algorithm portfolio to launch a combined quantum computing company based in Paris with operations in seven countries. The companies announced the merger Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Pasqal also announced that the company will deliver a 1,000-qubit quantum solution in 2023. IBM’s quantum roadmap also has a 1,000 qubit milestone in 2023. The combined platform will be available through the cloud to clients that include Johnson & Johnson, LG, Airbus, BMW, EDF, Thales, MDBA and Credit Agricole CIB.

Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO of Pasqal, will keep the lead job in the combined company, while Benno Broer, CEO of Qu&Co, will be the chief commercial officer. Broer also is the vice president of the European Quantum Industry Consortium.

“Working with Pasqal on joint research convinced us their neutral atom technology is the best solution to attain real-world commercial applications in quantum computing,” Broer said in a press release. “We were impressed by the performance of our algorithms on their hardware.”

SEE: Gartner expects 10 more years of quantum hype but CIOs should ID use cases now (TechRepublic)

Chirag Dekate, Gartner Research vice president, said the Pasqal acquisition is noteworthy in part because of its pioneering neutral atom-based quantum technology. 

“Most clients that we have worked with often explore a combination of quantum annealing, superconducting gate, trapped ion, and photonics-based systems depending on their use case mix,” he said. “Pasqal + Qu&Co enables a richer vendor option space, where enterprises can tap into a new innovation stream based on neutral-atom semantics.”

Pascal’s technology controls neutral atoms, those with an equal number of electrons and protons, with optical “tweezers” and uses laser light to engineer full-stack processors made of hundreds of atomic qubits in 2D and 3D arrays. The company’s software-agnostic quantum processing units can operate at room temperature with lower energy demands, according to the company. 

Qu&Co’s algorithms are built for computational finance, fluid dynamics and chemistry. The team’s SaaS products include patented quantum algorithms distributed as a backend integration to existing software packages.

Dekate anticipates more mergers and acquisitions over the coming years in the highly fragmented industry. 

“These industry realignments might comprise hardware and software companies or major communications services providers acquiring hardware/software/services companies to accelerate revenue capture and possible integration of systems and services companies in quantum computing,” he said. 

Dekate recommends that enterprise clients take a skeptical view of quantum computing vendors and cloud providers that promise potential business value capture in the near-term.

 “We anticipate that vendor hype around polynomial-speedup algorithms will likely result in an initial wave of enterprise client disappointments, potentially creating negative growth vectors for the quantum computing market,” he said. 

In December, Pascal announced a collaboration with NVIDIA to build a Quantum Computing Center of Excellence that will have a cluster of 10 NVIDIA DGX A100 systems with NVIDIA InfiniBand networking. Pasqal is a member of the NVIDIA Inception program that supports startups.

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