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Canada's Big Players in Quantum Computing

Canadian companies are marching forward and becoming a hub for innovation.

The phrase “Quantum Computing” immediately brings to mind the big names in tech including, IBM, Google, Intel and Microsoft. These US based companies have indeed made great contributions and advances in the field, but the landscape of innovation in quantum computing extends beyond the U.S. borders.

A number of Canadian companies and innovation hubs, clustered primarily in Ontario and British Columbia, are also turning heads with their sophisticated contributions to the world of quantum computing.

Ontario

The Kitchener/Waterloo region in Ontario, is not only the home of a number of quantum computing start- ups but also houses the country’s top quantum research institute, the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing. The Institute for Quantum Computing sits among six other entities in an extensive scientific ecosystem in Waterloo, dubbed the “Quantum Valley”.

Each entity plays a roll in the development, advancement and funding of quantum research.

Foundational quantum investigations begin at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (1), while fundamental and applied research is conducted at the Institute for Quantum Computing (2). The Quantum Valley Ideas Lab (3), in their words, provides strict environmentally controlled conditions necessary to expedite laser-based quantum technology prototyping, and, boasts an array of infrastructure required for free-space optical experiments. The Ideas Lab benefits from nearby ultra-sterile cleanroom and fabrication facilitates offered by Quantum Nanofab (4) from within the Research Advancement Centre (5).

Research products and innovation emerging from these facilities are then promoted and commercialized by business professionals from the Lazaridis Institute for Management (6). Finally, funding is provided by Quantum Valley Investments (7) which manages a $100 million fund for investing in breakthroughs in quantum information science research, from within the Quantum Valley, that have the potential to lead to new commercial technologies and applications.

In Toronto, Xanadu Quantum Technologies Inc. is a world leader in photonic quantum computing. The company, founded in 2016, has raised investment capital exceeding $40 million, including from investors such as OMERS Ventures, Georgian Partners, Golden Venture Partners, Real Ventures, BDC Venture Capital and Radical Ventures. In 2019, Xanadu partnered with the Bank of Montreal (BMO) Financial Group and Scotiabank to use Xanadu’s quantum Monte Carlo algorithm to discover computational speedups and improved accuracy in the trading products space.

In early 2020, Xanadu received a $4.4 million investment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada to expedite development of Xanadu’s energy-efficient photonic quantum computers. Xanadu is positioned to become a leader in efficiently solving complex computational problems dealing with chemical dosage calculations within the clean-tech sector.

British Columbia

D-Wave Systems, founded in Burnaby, British Columbia in 1999, is one of the earliest players in quantum computing.

D-Wave is a leader in developing and delivering quantum computing systems, software, and service, including acclaim as the world’s first seller of a commercial quantum computer. Organizations around the world, including, Lockheed Martin, Google, NASA Ames, Volkswagen, DENSO, USRA, USC, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, use D- Wave technologies.

Since its inception, D-wave has acquired over $75 million in customer contracts and protects its technologies under more than 160 U.S. patents. More so, D-Wave continues to be supported DeadCatLiveCat BLG: Haya Shehab & Scott Dybwad by a well established investor base with a total funding exceeding USD 220 million. Investors in D-wave include, 180 Degree Capital Corp., In-Q-Tel, Goldman Sachs, Bezos Expeditions, PSP Investments, DFJ Venture Capital, BDC Venture Capital, PenderFund Capital Management Ltd., International Investment and Underwriting Ltd., and Kensington Smart Alternatives.

In 2014 D-Wave partnered with another B.C. based company, 1QB Information Technologies Inc. (1Qbit) in Vancouver, to further develop its applications ecosystem.

1Qbit is a quantum computing software company, founded in 2012, that is focused on computational finance, materials science, quantum chemistry, and the life sciences. 1Qbit used D-Wave’s quantum computers and expertise to become the first company to use quantum computing in financial applications, and developed algorithms for optimizing financial portfolios.

In 2020, 1Qbit announced, and received additional funding to expedite, the first artificial intelligence radiology tool, XrAI, for improved accuracy and consistency of chest x-ray interpretations. 1Qbit has secured C$45 million in funding from Fujistu Limited, Accenture, Allianz, The Royal Bank of Scotland and CME Ventures, and continues to work closely and in partnership with Fortune 500 companies including Microsoft and the Dow Chemical Company.

Conclusion

Although not as well known by name as their U.S. counterparts, the companies and research institutes making up the Canadian quantum computing landscape have played and continue to play important roles in the advancement of both the fundamental research and real-world applications of this emerging technology.



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