Technology

Quantum computing operates in a fundamentally different way from conventional computers.

This new technology has the potential to unlock unprecedented parallel processing and consequently create a step change in computing power.

Quantum computing has the potential to accelerate existing computational tasks and solve problems that are today intractable – unsolvable; either theoretically or practically given very lengthy computational run-times – perhaps even as long as the lifetime of the Universe.

There are particular problems in chemistry, materials science, fluid dynamics and financial services that require high performance compute power that lend themselves to simulation or computation with modest numbers of qubits (perhaps a few hundred), likely to be susceptible to noise (qubit lifetimes are typically less than 1/1000 of a second) and prone to error.

As the technology develops the market for quantum computing products and services is expected to exceed £1bn within 7 years. The global economic impact through enhanced productivity and all associated revenues is anticipated to be between £20bn and £35bn also by 2027.

Applications

Quantum computing has the potential to accelerate resolution of complex problems and enable previously intractable computations. Early use cases not reliant on large qubit arrays and error correction are to be found in:

  • quantum chemistry
  • fluid dynamics
  • machine learning
  • small molecule simulation
  • optimisation

£82bn

UK financial services sector in 2018

£27bn

UK Chemicals & Pharma sectors in 2018

£17bn

UK Oil & Gas sector in 2018

26%

UK governmental sector share of High Performance Computing in 2016

Programme Themes

There is a broad range of excellent research undertaken across the UK. The NQCC will focus on the most mature technology platforms. We have worked closely with a cross-section of the UK’s leading experts to map out the field, identify the most promising technologies and design performance milestones to work towards.
The key objective of the NQCC is to deliver 100+ qubit NISQ-era user platforms by 2025 to enable industry and academia to tap into the potential markets and applications.

As such we will initially prioritise our efforts on superconducting and trapped ion qubit platforms. We will also run software, algorithm and applications development programmes.

Technical Roadmap

The roadmapping process has been running since late 2019 and will continue to evolve as progress is made in the field.

An important input has been the work done by the Quantum Computing Expert Group, a consortium of government, academic and industry experts across quantum computing. Through review of this landscaping material and assessment of the relative maturity of the candidate technology platforms the initial NQCC priorities have been established.

Against these priorities in underpinning technology, hardware, software, algorithm and applications a series of deliverables have been identified and prototype building block specification established. These near term prototype technology building blocks have been reviewed by leading experts. Finally, resources have been identified that would be required to deliver working prototypes into the Centre by leading groups across academia and industry within the UK.