Startup Agnostiq raises $6.1M to integrate quantum with high-performance computing

Startup Agnostiq raises $6.1M to integrate quantum with high-performance computing

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Quantum computing startup Agnostiq Inc. said today it has closed on a seed funding round worth $6.1 million to help accelerate the development of its enterprise-grade quantum and high-performance computing platform.

Today’s round was led by Differential Ventures and saw participation from existing investors Scout Ventures, Tensility Venture Partners, Green Egg Ventures and Rob Granieri, principal at Jane Street Capital.

Toronto-based Agnostiq positions itself at the intersection of quantum and high-performance computing, at a time when the two technologies are increasingly merging with one another to power a new generation of artificial intelligence applications. It’s building software that makes it possible to use quantum computers alongside other kinds of HPC tools.

HPC often involves complex workflows that use multiple kinds of computing resources. For instance, someone might perform pre-data processing on a local laptop, then transfer it to a supercomputer where it is used as an input to a high-compute simulation. The results are then collected, with some post-processing performed by an alternative resource to remove corrupt or missing entries, with the results visualized using yet another resource. In such complex workflows, users may interact with multiple supercomputers, clusters, cloud HPC resources and even quantum computers.

Agnostiq is the creator of Covalent, a workflow orchestration tool that abstracts away the complexity of the underlying quantum system from users, enabling fast prototyping among many different kinds of computing resources. It’s designed for rapid iteration and pre-production research and development, allowing users to quickly build, test and compare different workflows. Unlike other platforms, Covalent can facilitate heterogeneous workflows that cut across clouds, on-premises clusters and even hardware paradigms. It’s designed to reduce the cost and the operational complexity created by combining these powerful new technologies.

Agnostiq said today’s round comes at a time when major hardware and cloud providers are investing heavily in their own HPC systems. For instance, Amazon Web Services Inc. recently announced cloud-scale HPC workloads, while Microsoft Corp. launched a new AI supercomputer in the cloud.

Nvidia Corp. is upping its game too with the launch of its specialized DGX Quantum platform, which Agnostiq says is a major step toward quantum-accelerated supercomputing. As more workloads require HPC resources, and as quantum becomes an increasingly important modality within HPC, the startup believes tools such as Covalent will prove invaluable to enterprises attempting to weave them all together.

“Covalent, Agnostiq’s open-source workflow orchestration platform, helps customers unify access to their cloud and on-premise HPC resources, while making it easier for them to integrate new computing paradigms into their stack, such as quantum computers and other specialized hardware,” said Differential Ventures Managing Partner David Magerman.

Agnostiq Chief Executive Oktay Goktas said the funding from today’s round will help democratize access to quantum computing. “It will support the development of Covalent Cloud, our commercial offering, and provide valuable support to the open-source offering,” he said.

Image: Agnostiq

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