SD Startup Introduces Qubit-Generating Device for Quantum Computing

5/22/14Follow @bvbigelow

A San Diego startup says it has developed a laser-based device for generating qubits, the basic unit of information needed to carry out complex calculations in quantum computers.

The startup, founded in 2012 as GridCOM Technologies, was initially focused on developing quantum encryption systems to provide cybersecurity in the IT systems that electric utilities use to control the power grid.

The company changed its name to Qubitekk in early April to reflect how it has expanded beyond the power grid to apply its expertise in quantum physics in other fields, according to Qubitekk CEO Stephanie Rosenthal. The qubit generator, for example, could serve as a key component in the development of quantum computers as well as the basis for unhackable quantum encryption technology. The company says its device would enable developers to build quantum computers in less time, with less complexity, and at much lower cost.

“Qubitekk’s mission is to enable the adoption of quantum computing and cryptography technologies and applications,” Rosenthal wrote in an e-mail. “Protecting critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks is one important aspect of it, but we wanted the name to better reflect our universal core technology of creating quantum entangled particles.”

The company currently has nine employees, and has raised about $2 million since it was founded, “mostly from private investors in the oil and agriculture industries with vested and patriotic interests in protecting the country’s critical infrastructure,” Rosenthal said. One major backer is Ellis Energy Investments of Bakersfield, CA.

The field of quantum computing, introduced in the early 1980s by the late Richard Feynman and other theoretical physicists, remains largely experimental. The concept takes advantage of the strange world of quantum physics, in which qubits operate much like bits, the 1s and 0s that enable conventional computers to store information and carry out complex calculations.

Qubits, however, can exist as both 1s and 0s at the same time, and make it possible to carry out complex calculations simultaneously instead of sequentially. Qubits also represent a new approach to cybersecurity, because multiple qubits can be “entangled”; if one member of a pair of entangled qubits is measured to be a 0, for example, the other member of the pair must also become a 0, even if it’s far away. Because it’s impossible to interact with … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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