Rigetti Readies Ankaa and Lyra Quantum Processors for 2023, Says Quantum Advantage Close

By Tiffany Trader

September 16, 2022

Full-stack quantum computing startup Rigetti announced a number of new partnerships and strategic updates at its inaugural investor day meeting, held in-person at the company’s Fab-1 facilities in the San Francisco area and online today. The company highlighted its dedicated quantum fab, its hybrid quantum cloud platform and its next multi-chip quantum processor.

CEO and founder Chad Rigetti said the company’s full-stack technology roadmap is on track, with new quantum processors – Ankaa and Lyra – coming in 2023.

The upcoming 84-qubit Ankaa system is expected to debut early next year, followed by the 336-qubit Lyra system later in the year. The Lyra 336-qubit quantum processor will be based on a tiled assembly of four Ankaas, leveraging the Ankaa as a tiling unit. The processors will be based on Rigetti’s fourth-generation circuit architecture, designed with higher connectivity, tunable coupling, and higher fidelities exceeding 99%.

Sharing the provenance of the names, CEO Rigetti said: “Ankaa is a star and Lyra is a constellation, representing our multichip processor strategy where Lyra is assembled from multiple Ankaa dies.”

The company operates a proprietary quantum-classical infrastructure that leverages superconducting qubits.

“We are laser-focused on reaching a quantum advantage,” said CEO Rigetti.We believe we’ve got the right strategy to become the standard in quantum computing.”

The company has its sights set on achieving both narrow and broad quantum advantage.

“We believe we’re beginning to get within sight of narrow quantum advantage – the next phase in the industry,” said Rigetti. “In this phase, you go beyond iterating on applications and ultimately are beginning to deliver to end customers computational value beyond their best alternative, purely classical solution – thereby delivering better, faster time to solution, improved accuracy, or lower cost of solution. But going beyond narrow QA, there’s another phase and another inflection point: and that is broad quantum advantage.

“In the broad quantum advantage phase, quantum computers will begin to solve problems that are fundamentally out of reach of all forms of classical computing – no matter how big and how expensive of a classical computer you might build. And this phase will start to grow the market for computing overall, because you’re bringing workflows that are not currently addressed with any form of computing into a computational solution for the first time, only enabled by quantum computing. This is the phase where we believe we can start seeing new discoveries and new creative insights that advance human society and unlock this true deep potential that we see in quantum computing.”

A worker at Rigetti Fab-1. Photo credit: Drew Bird.

“The company’s roadmap is full-stack from the application layer down to the fabrication layer. At the application layer, we’re moving from prototypes and POCs into reference applications, and then into narrow and broad quantum advantage,” said Eric Ostby, vice president of product for Rigetti, during this morning’s event.

Reference applications will “allow an end customer to solve a practical problem and benchmark that performance against both quantum advantage, and their alternative solution,” said CEO Rigetti.

Growing Partner Ecosystem

The company announced it is collaborating with Nvidia to develop a hybrid GPU-QPU workflow for climate and weather modeling applications as it evaluates the potential for narrow quantum advantage in this vertical. 

“Addressing the challenges of an evolving climate is one of society’s most important tasks, and improving our ability to model the climate is essential to making data-driven decisions,” said Tim Costa, director of HPC and quantum product at Nvidia in a statement. “Working with Rigetti, we’ll explore how combining the best of quantum and GPU-accelerated computing can help address this challenge.”

Rigetti also spoke about its partnership with Microsoft Azure, which now has Aspen-M-2 80-qubit and Aspen-11 40-qubit processors in public preview on Azure Quantum. This is part of Rigetti’s strategy to integrate quantum into the fabric of cloud. Rigetti technology is also available in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

The company further highlighted the expected release of Keysight’s True-Q error mitigation software integrated into Rigetti Quantum Cloud Services (QCS) in the coming months. Rigetti said this will be the first third party software tool to be integrated directly into the QCS platform.

“Keysight’s True-Q software brings a broad suite of capabilities that is expected to help Rigetti’s user base achieve higher performance quantum computing,” said Joseph Emerson, director of advanced research, QES at Keysight Technologies. “We have worked together to streamline access for Rigetti customers to Keysight’s advanced quantum compiler technologies.”

Rigetti is also working with Bluefors, a cryogenic systems company, to deliver a new, modular, larger-and-more-powerful dilution refrigerator system that will power its future processors – from the 336-qubit Lyra (2023) through to the 2,000 and 4,000 qubit devices that are about three-to-five years out.

Rigetti emphasized the growing breadth and scope of its partnerships. In addition to Amazon, Microsoft, Nvidia, NASDAQ and others, the company is working closely with the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. And by 2025, Rigetti plans to deploy two quantum testbeds at FermiLab.

Rigetti operates its quantum datacenter facilities in Berkeley, California, and in the UK. It is currently expanding its Fab-1 facility in the Bay Area, which it expects to be completed by the end of this year. The site will provide 5,000 square feet of clean room space for wafer manufacturing.

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