Bringing quantum computing into real-world applications

Quantum computer.  Image by Getty Images

A new project that aims to take quantum computing from the lab to real-world applications has received £3million in new funding.

The University of Strathclyde is a partner in the Empowering Practical Interfacing of Quantum Computing (EPIQC) project.

Over the next four years, quantum computing and information and communication technology (ICT) researchers across the UK will work together to co-create new ways to bridge the gap between current quantum computers. and ICT.

Unlike conventional digital computers, which encode information as binary ‘bits’, quantum computers exploit the phenomena of superposition and entanglement to encode information, unlocking the potential for much more advanced computation.

Currently, there is no global infrastructure allowing widespread interaction with quantum computers via information and communication technologies, as is the case with digital computers. Without an established ICT framework, quantum computing cannot be extended to the devices, networks, and components that are commonplace in today’s digital world.

EPIQC brings together researchers to work on the interface of quantum computing and ICT through co-creation and networking activities. Collaborators will focus on three key areas of work to help overcome some of the barriers currently preventing the field of quantum computing from moving to practical applications through ICT: optical interconnects; wireless control and playback, and cryoelectronics.

The project is supported by funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UKRI (UK Research and Innovation). It is conducted at the University of Glasgow.

Dr Alessandro Rossi, Lecturer in Physics and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, leads Strathclyde on the project. He said: “We are at the dawn of a new technological era based on the exploitation of the laws of quantum physics. In order to bring this new technology to fruition, a number of engineering challenges lie ahead.

“To this end, EPIQC will provide a unique opportunity to develop ICT technology suitable for quantum applications. Its interdisciplinarity will allow collaborations within a very diversified pool of scientists ranging from designers of integrated circuits to quantum engineers, including physicists of materials and optics.

“At Strathclyde, my team will focus on implementing wireless signal links between quantum devices and control electronics in a cryogenic environment. This is a formidable and crucial challenge to address, in order to enable large quantum computing systems that could help solve practical real-life problems.

The other project partners are: the universities of Birmingham, Lancaster and Southampton; University College of London; King’s College London; the National Center for Quantum Computing; the Council for Scientific and Technological Facilities; QuantIC; QCS Center; IET Quantum Engineering Network; EPSRC eFutures Network and National Physics Laboratory. EPIQC industry partners include: Oxford Instruments; Leonardo; NuQuantum; BT; SeeQC; Semi-wise; quantum basis; Nokia; Ericsson; Kelvin Nanotechnology and SureCore.

Strathclyde is the only academic institution to have partnered with all four EPSRC-funded Quantum Technology Hubs in both rounds of funding, in the following areas: sensing and synchronization; Quantum Enhanced Imaging; Quantum computing and simulation and quantum communication technologies.

A quantum technology cluster is integrated into the Glasgow City Innovation District, an initiative led by Strathclyde with Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise, Entrepreneurial Scotland and the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. It is envisioned as a global location for quantum industrialization, attracting companies to locate, accelerate growth, improve productivity and access world-class research technology and talent in Strathclyde.

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