New AI-Based Tools Enable Quantum Computers to 'Self Tune'

One of the most frequently cited barriers to progress in the world of quantum computing is the susceptibility of its fundamental building blocks to errors. Researchers at quantum technology company Q-CTRL today announced a potential solution to that problem: a new set of tools that use custom artificial intelligence (AI) agents to allow a quantum computer to tune itself.

The new Automated Closed-Loop Hardware Optimization tool was designed to leverage AI to deliver quantum logic with fewer errors without requiring the user to have a complete understanding of the workings of the target quantum system. The tool is bundled as a feature of the company's flagship Boulder Opal software. Boulder Opal is a Python-based toolkit that integrates with the Q-CNTRL quantum control solutions.

The new tool set allows users to create a "closed optimization loop," in which the optimizer communicates with the experimental apparatus without the user's direct involvement. As the company explains the process, the apparatus produces an initial set of results, which it sends to the optimizer; the optimizer uses this information to produce a set of improved test points, which it sends back to the apparatus as recommendations. The results corresponding to these test points are resent to the optimizer, and the cycle repeats itself until the results have a sufficiently low cost function value, or until it meets any other ending condition that has been imposed.

The feature is a major step towards fully abstracted quantum computer hardware powered by AI, said Michael J. Biercuk, founder and CEO of Q-CTRL, in a statement.

"Just like software abstraction on conventional computers enables programmers to write algorithms without a need to understand how a transistor works, "Biercuk said, "this tool makes it much easier for researchers to explore the potential of quantum computers. We believe it will accelerate the development of quantum computer hardware and applications, pushing the industry closer toward delivering real-world business value."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at