Articles on Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing Company of the Day: Xanadu

January 9, 2020

Each day we will cover one company involved in the Quantum Computing revolution. We’ll aim to cover some of the points that are not covered elsewhere in the press and with our focus on the business aspects of Quantum Computing. Today, January 9 2020 we cover the Canadian start-up called Xanadu – so we are literally starting the first of this series with the company at the end of the alphabet but as of right now there are over one hundred companies pursuing Quantum Computing or Quantum Technology in some capacity. If you would like to nominate a company, please do in the comment section and we’ll try and cover it.

That name: Xanadu

We love the evocative name. It might not be the first time you have heard the name Xanadu. But have you have ever wondered what it actually means?

Xanadu: an idealised place of great or idyllic magnificence and beauty.

Coleridge’s modification, in the poem “Kubla Khan” (1797), of Xandu (17th century spelling).

About the company

Started by Christian Weedbrook, the company aims to be “light based” or Photonic Quantum Computing company with its mission to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere.

To build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere

Xanadu Mission statement

What are they working on?

Xanadu have developed a photonic computing platform (hardware) that integrates with existing technology stacks. For creating quantum states they are using the properties of light in comparison to other competing technologies such as Ion traps. Of course each technology comes with its merits and drawbacks, but one advantage of the photonic approach is that it may lead to room temperature devices, in contrast to the expensive cooling facilities that are typically needed.

Not stopping at the Hardware, Xanadu have developed their ground breaking PennyLane software. Someone must love the Beatles, in a nod to the 1967 hit called Penny Lane. Penny Lane is a cross-platform Python library for quantum machine learning (QML) and enables hybrid quantum-classical computations. PennyLane is certainly gaining ground and popularity amongst researchers and developers. Coupled with their focus on algorithms (again somewhat focused on Machine Learning) it is no wonder Xanadu is turning out to be a seriously VC funded Quantum Company because it has attracted luminary researchers such as Maria Schuld (who is one of the early researchers into Quantum Machine Learning).

In a nut-shell PennyLane lakes PyTorch and TensorFlow and allows this to be quantum ready.

They also are actively involved in supporting the community with their Hackathon events QHACK, attended by the noted Quantum Researchers such as Seth Lloyd.