QC Ware, a software startup that has raised more than $33 million and initially focused only on software that could run on quantum computers, said it needed to change tack and find a solution for clients today until the future quantum machines arrive.
The company CEO Matt Johnson turned to Nvidia Corp's graphic processing units (GPU) to "figure out how can we get them something that is a big step change in performance ... and build a bridge to quantum processing in the future."
This week, the outfit is unveiling a quantum-inspired software platform called Promethium that will simulate chemical molecules — to see how they interact with things like protein — on a traditional computer using GPUs. The software can cut simulation time from hours to minutes for molecules of 100 atoms, and months to hours for molecules of up to 2000 atoms, compared with existing software solutions.
It is not the only company to try this sort of thing. SandBoxAQ — an Alphabet spinoff — raised about $500 million. SandBoxAQ CEO Jack Hidary said it was only 24 months ago that AI chips became powerful enough to simulate hundreds of thousands of chemical interactions simultaneously. It developed a quantum-inspired algorithm for biopharma simulation on Google's AI chip called a Tensor Processing Unit (TPU).