Michel Simmons’ silicon quantum computing has raised $50 million after first seeking $130 million

Professor Simmons said only that she was pleased with the valuation, which is “essentially something that the market decides”.

She said the company hoped to have commercial uses of its technology within “three to five years” but it was just a milestone on the road to developing a full-fledged error-correcting quantum computer.

Error correction is important because while quantum technology is powerful, it can also lead to erroneous results.

Unlike ordinary computers, which perform computations from huge numbers of ones and zeros, quantum computers are built on qubits that can exist in many more states. This means that they have the ability to perform much harder calculations and help solve very complex scientific and business problems.

Ms. Simmons said the company’s first commercial products will be in an “analog simulation space,” where powerful computers model the properties of microparticles to optimize industrial processes.

But the technology, which is still deep in development, could also undermine the defenses companies and governments use to keep their systems secure by enabling strong code breaking.

Professor Simmons was named Australian of the Year 2018 for her pioneering research in quantum computing. Its backers reflect businesses and governments yearning for a national leader in an industry dominated by corporations in America but with a presence in Australia. China is investing heavily in the region as well.

The Albanian government has made domestic high-tech manufacturing a focus of its industrial policy and has placed quantitative work on a list of the most important technologies for the nation.

However, the depth of pockets of Simmons’ backers will be tested. The quantum computing divisions of huge global tech companies like Google and IBM have presented research in recent months depicting major breakthroughs.

Professor Simmons denied that other companies were ahead, saying her company was using different technologies including local manufacturing on a much finer “atomic” scale, but conceded that silicon quantum computing would eventually require more cash.

“We will undoubtedly raise capital in the future,” she said.

The NSW government previously invested in silicon quantum computing but did not participate in this round after the policy change.

Investors in the Company A funding round hailed it as “Team Australia”.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s head of information technology, Brendan Hooper, said the bank saw economic opportunities of “national and international significance” from the company’s work. UNSW Vice-Chancellor Attila Prongs said it was “a cornerstone of the quantum ecosystem at UNSW, in New South Wales and for the benefit of Australia”.

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