On Dec. 3, 2015, three mayor Dutch universities opened a new institute called QuSoft that, according to the press release, will be dedicated exclusively to writing quantum computing software. QuSoft is being billed as the first academic institute to be dedicated in that manner, and I tend to agree. As far as I know, no other nation has a similar institute.
It seems clear that QuSoft and its partner Dutch institute, QuTech, which does hardware instead of software, have intentions of eventually converting into private corporations after government funding has made them profitable. I reported earlier on QuTech in my previous blog post entitled “The Dutch Stallion and the Canadian Donkey”. Thus, it appears that the QuSoft-QuTech-Intel-Microsoft juggernaut will become more industrial and less academic as time goes on.
Meanwhile, IQC of the Univ. of Waterloo, Canada, founded 13 years ago (2002), has spent more than $150M to become the world’s leading powerhouse in NMR quantum computing and quantum cryptography, both known to be dead end streets since day one. They have also produced a computer game called QuantumCats, a knockoff of Angry Birds. Playing QuantumCats for 100 hours teaches less quantum mechanics than reading Wikipedia articles about QM for 15 minutes. Also, a Canadian Univ. (Dalhousie) used American defense funding (from IARPA) to write a QC programming environment called Quipper. The only problem is that Quipper is written in Haskell, a programming language so cryptic that almost nobody uses it in industry.
But despair not, Justin Bieber compatriots. I live in the US, but the company that I work for, artiste-qb.net, is incorporated in Canada. Oh Canada, we salute thee!
artiste-qb.net is a software company led by scientist programmers with close ties to industry, not by academics that program in Haskell. Our “Quantum Fog on GitHub” project is open-source under the BSD license and coded in Python. We also have 12 QC software patents (6 granted and 6 pending). QuSoft starts off with zero patents.
Time will tell, but right now, QuSoft is looking pretty frumpy compared to my company. QuSoft reminds me of a Dutch campervan, of the type that plagues French, German and Spanish camping sites every summer. If you are not familiar with this natural phenomenon, comparable to a Monarch butterfly migration, here is a description from the National Geographic (sort of). On the other hand, artiste-qb.net reminds me of a starship, an analogy which I made before in my previous blog post entitled: “Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Dragonfly has landed”. artiste-qb.net will reach for the stars, and QuSoft will reach for the cows.