• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

Diraq’s Founder Discusses his Startup’s Technology, the Roadmap & the Shape of QC in Australia


Feb 6, 2023


Diraq is likely one of the most enjoyable quantum computing (QC) startups in Australia, if not the world. Popping out of stealth final yr as a UNSW Sydney spinoff, the quantum computing firm has been growing analysis into constructing quantum processors utilizing electron spins in CMOS quantum dots over the past twenty years.

Led by its CEO and Founder Andrew Dzurak, the Scientia Professor in Quantum Engineering at UNSW Sydney, in addition to an ARC Laureate Fellow and a Member of the Government Board of the Sydney Quantum Academy — who in 2015 was a part of the group that constructed the primary quantum logic is in silicon — just lately sat down for an interview at the Startup Daily to debate spin qubits and a novel method to manage qubits on the scale required for helpful QC.


“Effectively, our firm was spun out of the College of New South Wales in Might final yr, and we’re targeted on constructing full-scale quantum computer systems to deal with issues in huge pharma, in defence, in finance, and likewise in local weather change and so forth,” mentioned Dzurak, earlier than mentioning Diraq is targeted on reaching thousands and thousands of qubits. “In the mean time,” he continued, “there’s quite a few competing applied sciences all all over the world, from some huge firms like IBM and Google, but additionally quite a few startups which have began right here in Australia and all all over the world.”

However what does this all imply for the way forward for the sector?

“So, the method that we’ve taken with Diraq is that a couple of decade in the past, we confirmed that we might take the transistors that now we have on commonplace silicon chips that now we have in our telephone or laptop computer and alter them into quantum bits of knowledge and function them to make a quantum processor chip,” mentioned Dzurak.

These gates, Dzurak went on, are the so-called logic gates that do the processing, in a manner on an ordinary chip.

“We now have gates that carry out operations to do information processing. On a quantum processor chip, issues are a bit bit extra difficult, however in the long run, the factor simply seems to be like a chip. And the main target of Dirac is to make use of that very same expertise, and to get many thousands and thousands of them on a chip as a result of that’s what you want as a way to tackle the kind of issues I used to be speaking about like drug design, monetary modelling, and so forth,” mentioned Dzurak.

Dzurak additionally famous to place it in context, now probably the most superior quantum computer systems on the earth have lower than 100 quantum bits. Diraq’s founder claims you should be up within the thousands and thousands if the trade goes to get to these actually precious purposes.


The interviewer talked about that magnetic fields have been the standard technique to do issues, however Diraq has “flipped” that through the use of electrical ones.

When requested whether or not this can be a recreation changer when it comes to the long run potentialities and skill to leapfrog the numbers, Dzurak’s reply clearly defined the startup’s vacation spot.

“We’ve bought a technical roadmap that’s been designed to get us to thousands and thousands of qubits inside a decade,” mentioned Dzurak, “so to essentially get that large worth out of quantum computing. And for the time being, our roadmap assumes we’re going to make use of magnetic fields. What this opens up with the brand new discovery that we printed a few weeks in the past,” he went on, “is it supplies a possible shortcut on that roadmap that might shave off a few years and probably a major quantity of funding.”

Dzurak additionally mentioned some very important investments for CHIP foundries must be made to develop these chips, although the precise prices concerned are important as a result of Diraq makes use of the identical chip foundries which are used to make the processor chips in laptops and telephones.

“It’s an costly enterprise, and we’re attempting to cut back the price of that growth. So one of many key advantages of this new manner of working the qubits is that we are able to make it easier and probably cheaper to make,” mentioned Dzurak.

Timeframes had been subsequent on the agenda, and if the startup is speaking years or many years on how shortly its expertise can transfer the sector ahead.

“So, the very first thing to know is that there are already firms which are promoting entry to early-stage quantum computer systems, that are simply say fifty to 100 qubits, proper?” mentioned Dzurak. “Already huge firms are paying to play with these. We’re trying to have on-line cloud-accessible programs inside three years, the place persons are going to have the ability to work and develop new algorithms and new concepts with quantum computer systems inside a decade. Actually, in six years, we’re trying to be making your first a million qubit chips. And that instantly opens up very important worth, each from a standpoint of gross sales of {hardware}, but additionally entry via the cloud.”

Funding is at all times a difficulty. What plans does the UNSW spinoff have up its sleeve right here?

“After we spun out, we had a major sequence A funding of over $20 million AUD and for the time being, we’re taking a look at primarily an A2 to bridge us for the subsequent few years to finish the primary part of our technical roadmap. That’s going to get our first chips made in a tier-one foundry within the US and probably Europe. So, that can enable us to develop our native group in Sydney and get the expertise switch from what we’ve accomplished in Australia into manufacturing chip vegetation abroad,” mentioned Dzurak.

When the query as as to whether he nonetheless has these moments with breakthroughs, when the idea turns into actuality, Diraq’s founder mentioned he’s in a particularly lucky place in that he’s engaged on a improbable connection between the enterprise world and industrial world, but additionally he will get to see the joy within the lab.


“So you recognize, this end result, because it seems, wasn’t one thing we’d been driving to,” mentioned Dzurak. “It was a serendipitous discovery a couple of yr in the past. It was utterly out of left area. We by no means anticipated it, however it may possibly create a fantastic shortcut. After we realized what it was, I imply, a number of pleasure within the lab. I nonetheless get very, very excited.”

Nobody can stress sufficient how necessary R&D is, particularly within the arduous tech area that’s QC. The interviewer highlighted how essential funding is to the sector, a sector that even New South Wales, the federal authorities and traders are very eager to search out out what’s taking place.

“The factor you recognize, Dirac is a twenty-five-year in a single day success. I imply, you hear this on a regular basis, proper?” Dzurak started. “That we developed a stack of IP of over forty patents that at the moment are globally lodged in ten patent households that had been constructed up over fifteen to twenty years of analysis, funded via the Australian Analysis Council.”

Dzurak knowledgeable his interlocutor that Diraq additionally will get some huge cash from the US Military Analysis Workplace.

“It’s been analysis grants at college which have allowed us to have that preliminary fundamental analysis occurring in universities as a way to construct up the expertise to have one thing industrial,” mentioned Dzurak, including that thankfully in quantum, because it seems, the Australian Authorities and the New South Wales authorities truly positioned bets twenty years earlier than on quantum — bets that in the present day are actually “bearing fruit”.

“I imply, for the time being now we have some of the thriving quantum ecosystems wherever on the earth proper right here in Sydney,” Dzurak added.

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