India Collaborates with Start-Ups to Develop Quantum Chip for Supercomputers

In a significant move, the Narendra Modi government is seeking assistance and expertise from start-ups and technology companies to create India’s first quantum chip, capable of powering the world’s fastest quantum computers. Smartkhabrinews has obtained a document issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) on September 13, outlining the selection of start-ups responsible for quantum chip development, including design and manufacturing. The chosen company will serve as a Collaborative Development Partner (CDP) for the government.

This initiative follows the establishment of a Rs 6,000 crore National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications in April, aimed at developing indigenous quantum computers. Furthermore, India and the United States have established a Joint Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism for research collaboration. Quantum computers are projected to be 100 million times faster than the most advanced supercomputers. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), operating under MeiTY, is overseeing this quantum initiative.

“C-DAC is committed to exploring and engaging in this visionary field. Quantum computing, as a new paradigm, has the potential to address grand challenge problems. C-DAC will play a crucial role in building quantum computers, with the quantum processing chip at the core,” states the Smartkhabrinews document.

Why a Quantum Chip?

Quantum computing possesses the potential to be a game-changer. The document explains, “Quantum computers, due to their ability to accurately simulate quantum systems, have the potential to revolutionize various fields. They can be employed to model and predict the behavior of new materials at an unprecedented level of detail and scale. C-DAC envisions quantum computers or quantum processor units (QPU) as an integral part of hybrid computing systems, where a QPU functions as an accelerator to a supercomputer.”

The government envisions comprehensive collaboration, from development to release processes, encompassing seamless deployment and ongoing support for integration and parameter maintenance. Initial engagements with a company will span three years. The document stipulates that the developed quantum chip must be effectively tested, modular, and robust. Expertise in product testing, performance fine-tuning, project management, and planning is highly desirable.

What Is a Quantum Chip?

A quantum computing chip serves as the processor for quantum computers. These chips contain quantum bits, or “qubits.” In the case of superconducting-based quantum processors, the document mentions various types of qubits such as transmon, xmon, quantronium, fluxonium, and Unimon qubits, which are under exploration.

The document highlights the general challenges faced by quantum computing chips, which include scalability and manufacturing. C-DAC’s requirement is to develop a general quantum chip with 10-50 qubits for research and potential applications in quantum computing. The design and development must support cutting-edge qubits for high-fidelity output and gate operation time, aligning with global advancements in the field over the next decade.

The government specifies that the chip must be developed in a facility capable of producing high-fidelity superconductor-based quantum chips, along with cryogenic electronic control chips for commercial, academic, and government markets. The selected agency must have the potential for partnerships in designing, simulation, layout, fabrication, cryogenic high-speed testing, and packaging in a world-class production environment. The document emphasizes the importance of testing and validation by an expert in this area.

To qualify, a company must have executed at least one project in Quantum Chip Design and Development or hold at least one relevant patent in quantum computing chip development technology.

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