Quantum startup Rigetti Computing announced today it acquired QxBranch, a quantum computing and data analytics software startup. The latest move marks what has been a busy year for Rigetti. Roughly one year ago, it announced plans to build a 128-bit quantum processor – the current version, Aspen4, is 16 qubits. Last fall, Rigetti launched its cloud platform and announced a $1 million prize for the first user to demonstrate quantum advantage.
Rigetti says the QxBranch acquisition is a natural addition to its “full stack” strategy (hardware, development tools, cloud delivery, applications). QxBranch focuses on developing predictive analytics tools and applications for quantum computing. QxBranch’s quantum feature detector (QFD) library, written in Python, is already part of Rigetti’s tool suite. In April, QxBranch touted a new approach to implementing quantum neural networks for image detection.
“We believe we have the leading hardware platform, and QxBranch is the leader at the application layer. Together we can shorten the timeline to quantum advantage and open up new opportunities for our customers,” said Chad Rigetti, founder and CEO, in the release.
Rigetti reports, “the QxBranch team will focus on building software development tools and applications and work with customers to implement specialized quantum algorithms. Michael Brett, CEO of QxBranch, will join Rigetti as SVP of applications. The QxBranch team will join Rigetti in a range of software engineering and application and business development roles.”
Brett is quoted in the official announcement: “QxBranch is thrilled to join our colleagues at Rigetti and accelerate our work together. We have worked hard over the past five years to introduce our data analytics customers to the emerging potential of quantum computing and now we can offer even more with a combined hardware and software solution.”
The deal was an all-equity transaction. QxBranch’s interest in Envelop Risk Analytics was not included in the acquisition. Additionally, Dr. Ray O. Johnson, former Chief Technology Officer of Lockheed Martin and current Chair of the Board at QxBranch, will join Rigetti’s board as an independent director.
“Over the past five years, QxBranch has established itself as a leader in the identification and development of applications for quantum computing technologies. Joining Rigetti’s team of talented engineers and scientists will reinforce and accelerate our efforts to create solutions for complex business problems that will leverage ongoing quantum computing developments. We are thrilled to help make a great Rigetti team even stronger, as we continue our quantum computing efforts,” said Dr. Johnson.
Link to HPCwire profile of Rigetti: https://www.hpcwire.com/2018/09/11/rigetti-and-others-pursuit-of-quantum-advantage/