Alice and Bob Unveil “Helium 1” Quantum Processor with 16 Qubits


December 19, 2023

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Summary: Alice & Bob, a leading quantum hardware developer, announced their new Helium 1 chip, which combines cat qubits and error correction code to achieve a "six-nines" logical qubit with significantly lower error rates, marking a major milestone in their roadmap and the quantum industry.

  • The Helium 1 chip is a 16-qubit quantum processing unit (QPU), marking an important milestone in Alice & Bob's roadmap.
  • The chip combines cat qubits, a technology pioneered by Alice & Bob, to implement an error correction code, resulting in lower error rates than any existing physical qubit.
  • The Helium 1 prototype is a crucial step towards Alice & Bob's goal of achieving a "six-nines" logical qubit, necessary for the realization of a universal, fault-tolerant quantum computer.


Alice & Bob, a important hardware developer in the Quantum Computing field, made an exciting announcement today regarding their latest chip. This new chip, known as Helium 1, is expected to significantly improve error rates when adding qubits, making it a key prototype for Alice & Bob’s first error-corrected, logical Qubit.

The Helium 1 chip is a 16-qubit quantum processing unit (QPU) and marks an important milestone in Alice & Bob’s roadmap. It combines cat qubits, a technology that the company has been pioneering, to implement an error correction code. This breakthrough allows Alice & Bob to create a logical qubit with error rates lower than any existing physical qubit.

With the completion of the tape-out process, the chip now enters a phase of characterization and calibration before its release on the cloud. This is a significant development for the quantum industry, as logical qubits are poised to demonstrate remarkable advantages over physical qubits. Achieving extremely low error rates is crucial for fault-tolerant quantum computing, and logical qubits provide the solution.

In quantum computers, errors can occur due to bit flips and phase flips. Cat qubits, which are designed to be protected from bit flips, offer hardware efficiency and enable the creation of logical qubits using fewer physical qubits. The Helium 1 chip will run an error correction code that actively suppresses the remaining phase flips, effectively addressing both types of errors.

Théau Peronnin, CEO of Alice & Bob, expressed his excitement about the company’s cat qubit technology and its potential to reduce errors. He stated, “Helium 1 is our new platform to exponentially suppress the remaining errors as we add more depth, enabling us to deliver on our clear roadmap to reach the full computational potential of quantum computers.”

The Helium 1 prototype is a crucial step towards Alice & Bob’s goal of achieving a “six-nines” logical qubit, meaning a logical error rate of 10-6 or lower. This level of accuracy is necessary for the realization of a universal, fault-tolerant quantum computer.

Alice & Bob, a startup headquartered in Paris and Boston, has made significant strides since its establishment in 2020. With over 30 million euros in funding and a team of more than 80 employees, the company has already demonstrated experimental results that surpass those of industry giants like Google and IBM. Alice & Bob specializes in cat qubits, a technology that they pioneered and later adopted by Amazon. The power of their cat architecture was recently showcased when they reduced the number of qubits required to run Shor’s algorithm from 20 million to 350 thousand.

The tape-out of the Helium 1 chip represents a major advancement for Alice & Bob and the quantum computing field as a whole. It brings us one step closer to realizing the full potential of quantum computers and opens up exciting possibilities for fault-tolerant quantum computing.

Alice and Bob Unveil “Helium 1” Quantum Processor with 16 Qubits

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Background Information


About Google: Google, founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, is a multinational technology company known for its internet-related services and products. Initially for its search engine, Google has since expanded into various domains including online advertising, cloud computing, software development, and hardware devices. With its innovative approach, Google has introduced influential products such as Google Search, Android OS, Google Maps, and Google Drive. The company's commitment to research and development has led to advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Google Website: https://www.google.com
Google LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/amazon

About IBM: IBM, or International Business Machines Corporation, is a globally American multinational technology company with a storied history dating back to its founding in 1911. Over the decades, IBM has consistently been at the forefront of innovation in the field of information technology. The company is known for its pioneering work in computer hardware, software, and services, with breakthroughs like the IBM System/360 and the invention of the relational database.

IBM Website: https://www.ibm.com/

Technology Explained


Quantum Computing: Quantum computing is a type of advanced computing that takes advantage of the strange behaviors of very small particles. It's like having a supercharged computer that can solve incredibly complex problems much faster than regular computers. It does this by using special "bits" that can be both 0 and 1 at the same time, which allows it to process information in a very unique way. This technology has the potential to make a big impact in areas like data security and solving really tough scientific challenges, but there are still some technical hurdles to overcome before it becomes widely useful.


Qubit: Qubit is a unit of quantum information that is used in quantum computing. It is the smallest unit of information that can be stored and manipulated in a quantum computer. A qubit can represent a 0, 1, or both 0 and 1 simultaneously, which is known as a superposition. This allows quantum computers to process and store information much faster than traditional computers. The applications of qubits in the computer industry are vast, ranging from cryptography and artificial intelligence to drug discovery and financial modeling. By harnessing the power of quantum computing, businesses can solve complex problems faster and more efficiently than ever before.



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