Quantum Testbed Opens in Boulder, Colorado

colorado boulder quantum

Boulder Cryogenic Quantum Testbed

Colorado is known as the Centennial State, land of the Rockies and the home of the Denver Broncos football team, but apart from these facts, there is something so important that it could quite possibly put the state on the map as a centre for quantum computing (QC) research for many years to come.

The University of Colorado, Boulder, for a long time now has been a hive of activity in quantum research and a magnet for some of the greatest minds in the space. Incidentally, it is also home base for ColdQuanta, founded in 2007 as an offshoot from the JILA Institute and Physics Department at the university. Adding to the already impressive facilities and startup culture in the area, comes the announcement that a brand new facility, the Boulder Cryogenic Quantum Testbed, launched last week to much fanfare in the QC community.

CU Boulder and NIST’s interests in getting research started in the direction of practical applications.’

— Stephen O’Neil, the executive director of the CUbit Quantum Initiative at CU Boulder


The testbed, a non-profit entity, is based in JILA on the CU Boulder campus, and is a shared venture between CU Boulder, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and search engine giant, Google. Its goal is to conduct research on materials by way of ‘dielectrics’ that one day may be key ingredients in the successful implementation of quantum computers using superconducting technology.

For NIST, the alliance is a perfect example of governmental, academic and industry entities coming together for the common good of scientific research and the betterment of mankind.

Thomas O’Brian, chief of NIST’s Quantum Physics Division, had this to say about the three-way partnership:

We are very excited about the Google/CU/NIST partnership to help advance quantum computing research in the U.S. The U.S. has made quantum information science a national priority to advance research, technology development, training and the economy in all things quantum.’

On The Map

By next year, when the testbed is online, it is hoped that experts and researchers in the industry and at university campuses from all over the country will get the chance to send their superconducting instruments and materials to Boulder for testing and comparing results.

‘We’re delighted to be working with CU Boulder and NIST. It made perfect sense given the local talent and the heritage for precision metrology in Boulder. The output of the testbed will be open to everyone, through our online repository and future publications. We hope to be a resource and a forum for the community of quantum computing, from students just beginning their careers to researchers everywhere who want to measure the performance of superconducting materials.’

 — Josh Mutus, senior research scientist at Google

The opening of the Boulder Cryogenic Quantum Testbed will really put the region on the QC map, joining the likes Silicon Valley and Ontario, Canada as places where the future of QC will be shaped.

Rick Blaine’s immortal line in the classic movie, Casablanca: ‘Here’s looking at you, kid’ is quite fitting just now, because though I don’t really understand what it means, the words seem just as deserving for the testbed’s onward success as well as for Bogart’s screen partner, Ingrid Bergman.

Here’s looking at quantum computing, for sure.

James Dargan

James Dargan

James Dargan is a writer and researcher at The Quantum Insider. His focus is on the QC startup ecosystem and he writes articles on the space that have a tone accessible to the average reader.

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