The ministry for Education, Culture and Science has awarded a Gravitation grant for large-scale research on quantum software. This grant of 18.8 million euro unites researchers from QuSoft, CWI, Leiden University, QuTech, TU Delft, UvA and the VU in pursuing state of the art research programmes in this new field.
The NWO Gravitation grants sum up to a total amount of [X], awarded by minister Jet Bussemaker to give Dutch world-class scientists the opportunity to carry out innovative research that can bring about revolutionary breakthroughs.
Coordinating researcher professor Harry Buhrman (QuSoft, CWI, UvA) is very pleased: ‘We expect that small-scale quantum platforms and networks will soon become available. Such systems allow for calculations that extend far beyond those dreamed for conventional computers. The potential of these future quantum technologies is huge, but we will face great challenges in learning what to compute and how to perform such calculations.’
The Quantum Software Consortium unites researchers from computer science, mathematics and physics to develop and demonstrate such quantum software. Professor Stephanie Wehner (QuTech, TU Delft): ‘Quantum software is essential for quantum networks and computing. This grant allows us to take even bigger steps in the development and realisation of world-leading software applications for the future quantum internet in The Netherlands – possibly being the world’s first.’
We are at a key moment in time in which the promise of a quantum computer and quantum internet lies within our grasp. After a slow but steady development in the past decade, the number of quantum bits (qubits) in hardware is now increasing every few months. In the coming decade, the first quantum systems are expected to become reality.
A quantum computer works by exploiting the counterintuitive effects of quantum mechanics, giving rise to exciting new possibilities, but also necessitating an entirely novel approach to programming. Professor Buhrman points out the importance of the current quantum revolution: ‘We have reached a special moment, similar to the Sixties when conventional computers were developed. We look ahead at an incredible amount of fascinating, challenging possibilities.’
‘The Gravitation grant allows our consortium to pioneer quantum software for few-qubit applications. The Quantum Software Consortium aims to develop algorithms and protocols for quantum computers, networks and quantum-secure cryptography,’ responds Ronald Cramer (Leiden University, CWI), ‘these methods can be tested on quantum hardware that is developed in parallel in Delft and Leiden, and a quantum network between Amsterdam, Delft, Leiden and The Hague.’
The application is coordinated by prof. dr. Harry Buhrman (CWI, University of Amsterdam), prof. dr. Dirk Bouwmeester (Leiden University), prof. dr. Ronald Cramer (Leiden Unicersity, CWI), prof. dr. Ronald Hanson (QuTech, TU Delft), prof. dr. Stephanie Wehner (QuTech, TU Delft) and prof. dr. Ronald de Wolf (CWI, University of Amsterdam).