(Bloomberg) — Nvidia Corp. and SandboxAQ, a startup spun off from Alphabet Inc., are working together to help companies simulate large volumes of chemical reactions to develop new materials for medicine and batteries.
The Palo Alto, California-based startup will help expand the capabilities of CUDA, Nvidia’s software platform for developing artificial intelligence applications, to better simulate the quantum mechanics behind chemical, biological and material science.
“SandboxAQ’s AI simulation capabilities, augmented with Nvidia accelerated computing and quantum platforms, will help enable the creation of new materials and chemical compounds that will transform industries and address some of the world’s biggest challenges,” said Eric Schmidt, chairman and a key investor of SandboxAQ, in a statement. The startup is currently valued at $4 billion, according to data firm Pitchbook.
SandboxAQ’s simulation tech relies on quantum algorithms, which have been around for decades, but have been too big and complex to run on computers. But the arrival of powerful graphics processors like Nvidia’s A100 and H200 means they can now be used for real-world medical treatments and other products, Jack Hidary, SandboxAQ’s chief executive officer, said in an interview.
Hidary added that the partnership with Nvidia may also help create applications in the financial services and energy industries.
Such collaborations are filling the gap until the world has an error-free quantum computer, an emerging technology that can process information millions of times faster than the most powerful supercomputers today.
Read: Why Quantum Computers Will Be Super Awesome, Someday: QuickTake
While quantum computing is not ready for real-life use cases, governments and companies including Alphabet’s Google are racing to build an effective quantum computer to leapfrog existing technology and accelerate developments in fields like drug discovery.
The US now sees quantum computing as a strategic field and it is working to stay ahead of China, it’s biggest geopolitical rival. Earlier this year, US President Joe Biden imposed limits on US investments in some Chinese quantum computing firms as part of a push to restrict the Asian nation’s ability to develop next-generation and surveillance technologies.
In addition to providing algorithms for simulation work, SandboxAQ also has a growing business in cybersecurity and in quantum sensors for medical use and for navigation.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.