Q-CTRL Releases Professional-Grade ‘Quantum Control’ Tools to Improve Quantum Computing Hardware Performance

Enhanced BOULDER OPAL Beta software release allows improvement of quantum hardware performance up to 100X and delivers solutions over 10 times faster than competitive offerings

LOS ANGELES--()--Q-CTRL, a startup that applies the principles of control engineering to accelerate the development of the first useful quantum computers, today announced the Beta release of its professional-grade BOULDER OPAL software tools for the quantum computing market.

BOULDER OPAL is an advanced Python-based toolkit for developers and R&D teams using quantum control in their hardware or theoretical research. Technology agnostic and delivered via the cloud, BOULDER OPAL enables building and outputting new error-robust logic operations for even the most complex quantum circuits. The result for users is greater performance from today’s quantum computing hardware.

Outputs produced using BOULDER OPAL with state-of-the-art quantum computing hardware show improvements of 10 to 100 times across the key metrics of: error reduction, reduction of performance variability across devices, improvement of hardware stability over time, and reduction of error correlations. These metrics inform how well a quantum computer will perform now, and how likely developers will be able to build larger, more powerful systems in the future.

By leveraging professional software engineering and a powerful cloud-compute architecture, BOULDER OPAL also demonstrated approximately 10X improvement in time-to-solution in head-to-head testing against existing quantum control solutions where comparisons are possible.

Q-CTRL will present live demonstrations of BOULDER OPAL’s new features at the American Physical Society March Meeting in Denver, March 2-6, 2020 at booth 1404 in the Colorado Convention Center. Company officials will also deliver five technical talks on these new capabilities and experimental validations.

“The new technical capabilities released today make BOULDER OPAL an indispensable tool for teams seeking more reliable results in their experiments,” said Michael J. Biercuk, founder and CEO of Q-CTRL “With BOULDER OPAL, developers have the power to achieve massive performance gains in quantum computing hardware, regardless of the platform.”

Errors are the Achilles heel of quantum computers. The underlying hardware is extremely fragile, and “noise” from the environment can perturb the systems, leading them to fail. Q-CTRL specializes in delivering a set of techniques which can stabilize the hardware and allow quantum computations to be executed with greater success.

Q-CTRL shares this expertise as quantum firmware for quantum computers, complementing the wide range of quantum algorithm developers active in the field, and helping manufacturers get more out of their hardware.

“The power of quantum control in improving quantum computers is well understood by the scientific community,” said Biercuk. “BOULDER OPAL provides globally unique, proprietary technical capabilities, and focuses on delivering real, tangible benefits to users.”

The world-leading team of quantum control engineers at Q-CTRL have built many easy-to-use features that have never been previously available to the R&D community. For example, performing highly complex constrained numeric optimizations on interacting quantum bits with many adjustable parameters can now be reduced to a few lines of validated code executed in seconds.

“With these tools we’ve thought a lot about the user experience,” said Biercuk. “If you’re a quantum-algorithm developer or a researcher, we understand you want straightforward access to the benefits of quantum control to improve quantum computers without needing to hack your own code. And we know that users want solutions as quickly as possible so they can test and iterate rapidly.”

Because it is Python-based, BOULDER OPAL is easy to integrate with other tools widely used in the quantum computing research and developer communities. Q-CTRL offers software integrations with Qiskit, pyquil, and CirQ, complements open-source packages like QuTiP, and provides custom integration for user hardware.

“Our team can help customers directly integrate BOULDER OPAL into their quantum computing systems with our Last-Mile-Integration package, allowing full automation of control so users can focus on running more advanced computations,” said Biercuk.

A free 30-day trial of BOULDER OPAL is available starting tomorrow, Feb. 28, 2020. To register, visit https://app.q-ctrl.com/signup.

Experimental validations and an overview of the software architecture, developed in collaboration with the University of Sydney, were recently released in a technical manuscript titled Software Tools for Quantum Control: Improving Quantum Computer Performance through Noise and Error Suppression, and is available online.


BOULDER OPAL is today in a public beta release, following a private alpha with key customers. BOULDER OPAL delivers the most advanced quantum control engineering capabilities in a modern cloud-compute architecture. Key features allow users to:

  • Optimize error-robust controls in high-dimensional systems and circuits. Account for leakage levels and dissipation while imposing realistic hardware constraints using simple commands.
  • Evaluate quasistatic and time-dependent noise-susceptibility of quantum gates and circuits using proprietary multidimensional filter functions.
  • Simulate device, gate and algorithmic performance in realistic laboratory environments using real, measured noise spectra.
  • Characterize noise and drifts in quantum circuits to gain actionable intelligence on improving hardware. Identify noise only appearing in complex circuits that can’t be discovered otherwise.
  • Integrate solutions directly with hardware for full automation, including hardware calibration and optimization leveraging advanced machine learning.

Enhancements to BOULDER OPAL Beta include access to an updated portal (app.q-ctrl.com) with a Launch Pad to access the product via a Python package or live notebooks run on the web, an Activity Monitor to keep track of long-running jobs and processes, comprehensive reference documentation, technology guides and a Quantum Wiki on quantum control theory.


Q-CTRL was founded in November 2017 and is a venture-capital-backed company that provides control-engineering software solutions to help customers harness the power of quantum physics in next-generation technologies.

Q-CTRL is built on Professor Michael J. Biercuk’s research leading the Quantum Control Lab at the University of Sydney, where he is a Professor of Quantum Physics and Quantum Technology. Q-CTRL has assembled the world’s foremost team of expert quantum-control engineers, providing solutions to many of the most advanced quantum computing teams globally.

The team’s expertise led Q-CTRL to be selected as an inaugural member of the IBM Q startup network in 2018. Q-CTRL is funded by SquarePeg Capital, Sierra Ventures, Sequoia Capital China, Data Collective, Horizons Ventures, and Main Sequence Ventures. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, the company recently opened its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles.


Mike Kilroy
HKA, Inc.
p. 714-422-0927

Release Summary

Q-CTRL announces BOULDER OPAL software tools for the quantum computing market that reduce computational errors by 100X and speed solutions by 10X.


Mike Kilroy
HKA, Inc.
p. 714-422-0927