Last Updated: September 16, 2023, 09:29 IST
In a major move, the Narendra Modi government has now sought help and expertise from start-ups and tech companies to build India’s first quantum chip that can power the world’s fastest Quantum computers.
News18 has accessed a document issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) on September 13 to shortlist start-ups who can carry out quantum chip development, including its design and manufacturing. The selected company will act as a Collaborative Development Partner (CDP) for the government.
The move comes after India set up a Rs 6,000 crore National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications in April to develop home-grown quantum computers. India and the US have also established a Joint Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism for research.
Quantum computers are said to be 100 million times faster than the most advanced supercomputers. C-DAC functioning under MeiTY is in charge of this ‘quantum’ initiative. “C-DAC has committed itself to explore and engage in the avant-garde visionary area. Quantum computing evolving as a new paradigm is well poised to solve grand challenge problems…C-DAC would be building quantum computers where a quantum processing chip will play a critical role,” the document with News18 says.
Why Quantum Chip?
Quantum computing has the potential to be a game-changer, the document says. “Quantum computers, given their capacity to simulate quantum systems accurately, could potentially revolutionise this area. They could be used to model and predict the behaviour of potential new materials at a level of detail and scale that is currently unattainable. C-DAC envisions quantum computers or quantum processor units (QPU) will be in principle part of hybrid computing systems, where a QPU operates as an accelerator to a supercomputer,” the document says.
The government is envisaging end-to-end collaboration — from development to release processes including seamless deployment and further support — for integration and maintenance of desired parameters. The initial engagement with a company will be for three years. “The quantum chip so developed should be effectively tested, modular and robust. Expertise in product testing & assessment, performance fine tuning, project management & planning etc. are desirable,” the document has said.
What is a Quantum Chip?
A quantum computing chip serves as the processor for quantum computers. These quantum computing chips contain quantum bits, or “qubits”. Considering superconducting-based quantum processor, the qubits reported are transmon, xmon, quantronium, fluxonium and Unimon qubit and they are further being explored. “General challenges that quantum computing chips face are scalability and manufacturing. C-DAC requirement is to develop a general quantum chip for 10-50 qubit which will be explored for research and possible applications in quantum computing,” the document has mentioned.
The quantum chip design and development would support state of the art qubits for high fidelity output and gate operation time and should be in line with global development in this area for next 10 years, it says.
“The chip has to be developed in a facility that has the ability to produce high fidelity superconductor based quantum chip along with its cryogenic electronic control chip for commercial, academic, and government markets,” the government has specified.
The selected agency must have the potential partnerships for developing and designing, simulation, layout, fabrication, cryogenic high-speed testing and packaging in a world-class production environment. “The quantum chip should be tested in a proper facility and validated by an expert in this area,” the document adds. To qualify, a company must have executed at least one project in Quantum Chip Design and Development, or have at least one relevant Patent in quantum computing chip development technology area.