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18 September, 2020 - 11:45 By Tony Quested

IBM and Cambridge Quantum Computing push fresh frontiers

A collaboration between global technology behemoth IBM and UK-based Cambridge Quantum Computing is scaling fresh heights.

CQC has just launched the world's first cloud-based Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG) Service with integrated verification for the user in partnership with the $77 billion turnover IBM.

The joint offering will initially be available to members of the IBM Q Network, delivering certified quantum randomness for the first time.

Randomness is an essential and ubiquitous raw material in almost all digital interactions and is also used in cybersecurity to encrypt data and communications and perform simulation analysis across many sectors. These include the petrochemical, pharmaceutical, chemical engineering, finance and gaming industries. 

The application developed by CQC generates true maximal randomness, or entropy, implemented on an IBM Quantum Computer that can be verified and thus certified as truly quantum – and therefore truly and maximally random – for the first time. This cannot be accomplished on a classical computer.

The IBM Q Network is a community of more than 100 Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, startups and national research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing.

CQC’s IBM partner lead, Anthony Annunziata, director of the IBM Q Network, provided the following perspective on the new cQRNG Service: “This is an exciting step toward making quantum computers practical and useful, and we are looking forward to seeing what scientists and developers can create using this service.” 

Working with IBM, CQC has attained two quantum computing milestones: one in computational terms and the other in the commercialisation of quantum computing where, for the first time, with the cloud delivery of an application for quantum computers, it provides a service that has real-world application today.

From classical and post-quantum cryptography to complex Monte Carlo simulations where vast amounts of entropy are required to eliminate hidden patterns, certifiable quantum randomness will provide a new opportunity for advantage in relevant enterprise and government applications.

Extracting verified random numbers from a quantum processor has been an industry aspiration for many years. Many current methods only generate pseudo-random numbers or rely on physical phenomena that appear random but are not demonstrably so.

The certified QRNG service launched in partnership with IBM, integrates a Bell test based on Mermin inequalities, offered through the Qiskit module qiskit_rng, which validates the true quantum nature of the underlying processes with statistical analysis. 

CQC was part of the founding group of startups in the IBM Q Network's startup program, announced in 2018. IBM invested in CQC in January of 2020. 

CQC recently became the first startup-based hub in the IBM Q Network, working with other members on chemistry, optimisation, finance, and quantum machine learning and natural language processing to advance the industry's quantum computing ecosystem.

Ilyas Khan, CEO of Cambridge Quantum Computing, said: “We are extremely proud and enormously excited by this achievement and are gratified by our continuing partnership with IBM.”

• CQC has added an experienced quantum computing executive to its business development team. Mehdi Bozzo-Rey will take responsibility for a variety of key markets and clients in the US, Canada and France and further expand CQC’s leadership in business areas where corporations are rapidly adopting quantum computing solutions in order to address critical challenges now and in the future.

With over 20 years of experience in the High-Performance Computing (HPC) industry, Mehdi’s contributions span infrastructure management and reproducible HPC, as well as customer and partner enablement. 

A physicist by training and driven by passion for disruptive technologies, Mehdi leveraged his background in quantum mechanics to explore quantum computing. He became the first IBM Quantum Ambassador in Canada, and subsequently joined the IBM Q team to lead its business development activities in Canada which resulted in scalable and sustainable ecosystem growth and enablement.

Denise Ruffner, CQC’s chief business officer, said: “CQC is thrilled to welcome Mehdi to our fast-growing team. As global leaders in quantum software, we are collaborating with some of the world’s leading companies. Mehdi’s experience will add a new and exciting dimension to CQC’s client facing capabilities.”

Mehdi said “CQC is at the forefront of innovation and advances in quantum computing software which enable the power of quantum computing to be realised. I look forward to contributing to our clients’ efforts to transform their businesses with our leading quantum computing software products and solutions.”

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