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National Quantum Computing Centre

UK Research and Innovation, through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), is leading a programme to establish the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) as part of phase 2 of the National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP).

The NQCC will build the UK's capability to be at the forefront of quantum computing, delivering greater prosperity and security advantages for the UK, as announced in the Budget in November 2018. The NQCC will be a dedicated national centre with the aim of working towards fully scalable, fault tolerant, general purpose quantum computing.

An interim leadership team has been appointed and details can be found further below.

Purpose

The primary purpose of the NQCC is to fill a key gap in the research and innovation landscape by providing a capability to address the challenge of scaling quantum computing. It will convene all necessary stakeholders across academia, business and government to achieve this.

The NQCC's initial five years will focus on developing a Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) machine to demonstrate the technology, give assured and direct access to developers and promote the formation of a strong UK-based quantum computing supply chain, whilst driving efforts towards a fully scalable, fault tolerant, general purpose quantum computer over the longer term, enabling the creation of increasingly powerful quantum computers.

The NQCC will build on the strength in quantum computing that the UK has established through the first phase of its National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP) and will be a key part of the wider UK quantum computing landscape, including the Quantum Technologies Research Hubs; quantum challenges and programmes within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; doctoral training; and the activities of industry in this area.

Objectives

The overall aim of the programme is to place the UK at the forefront of quantum computing and secure this strategically important technology for the UK. There are a number of strategic objectives involved in achieving this aim.

Objective one: By 2025, a strategy for partnership and engagement with academia, industry, government and users, will have been established and delivered, which leverages the strengths developed during the first phase of the National Quantum Technologies Programme; and a UK-based supplier and user community will have been fostered, so that developments of this technology are shaped by users’ needs and can be exploited to the benefit of the UK

Objective two: By 2025, solve key challenges in scaling Quantum Computing systems, through developing demonstrators and prototypes at scale; demonstrated by the production of a Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) machine that for a range of tasks outperforms state of the art conventional computing. Moving forward through 2025, the NQCC will enable diverse users to benefit from quantum advantage, while driving the transition toward fault tolerant, freely scalable systems.

Objective three: Develop software and algorithms for real QC systems that will exploit the potential of this technology for academic, industrial and entrepreneurial users. A portfolio of credible software and algorithms is produced and applied to real world challenges (e.g. logistics, drug discovery) with first demonstration in 2022 and further solutions built in 2023/24/25.

Objective four: Identify the best options to pursue beyond 2025 that takes quantum computing technology past the NISQ computing system towards the realisation of both intermediate and fully scalable general-purpose quantum computers, such that by 2025 a credible roadmap towards the latter has been developed.

The deliverables of this programme to achieve these objectives are:

  1. Establish a NQCC leadership team and launch the centre during 2020.
  2. Have a fully operational NQCC by the end of 2022, in a physical infrastructure that can host an integrated development programme in quantum computing.
  3. Deliver a Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum computing capability that for a range of tasks outperforms state-of-the-art conventional computing by 2025.
  4. Capability and capacity in quantum computing that enable the creation of a vibrant UK quantum computing sector and the development of increasingly powerful quantum computers.

NQCC Programme Board

To oversee the programme to establish the NQCC a Programme Board has been formed, which reports to the Programme Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) within UKRI and has responsibility to:

  • Provide strategic leadership in the development, implementation and sustainability of quantum computing programmes and strategies at UKRI and national level
  • Provide advice, support and assistance in the implementation of the programme
  • Monitor identified and emerging risks and advise on their prevention, mitigation and management
  • Recognise barriers and enablers to NQCC Programme, and assist in developing initiatives to address these
  • Validate or challenge, identified quantum computing benefits (academic, industrial, entrepreneurial, and governmental)
  • Monitor and report to the board, trends in quantum computing at national and international level monitor the programme budget and expenditure

Programme Board membership

  • Professor Sheila Rowan (Chair), Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland
  • Professor Sir Peter Knight, Chair of the NQTP Phase 2 Strategic Advisory Board
  • Professor Tom Rodden, Chief Scientific Adviser for the department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
  • Roger McKinlay, Challenge Director for Quantum Technologies (ISCF), UK Research and Innovation
  • Michael Groves, Technical Director, National Cyber Security Centre

Interim Leadership Team

The leadership team will be responsible for the design of the centre, including its operating model and community engagement, development of the process to determine technology platform priorities and the design of the building.

As part of their work, they will engage broadly with key stakeholders in government, academia and industry to establish a user community, create a roadmap for the development programme and establish a centre at the heart of the UK’s quantum computing community. The team brings together expertise and experience from across the UK’s quantum technology sector.

Dr Michael Cuthbert, Business Development Director and Quantum Technologies Sector lead at Oxford Instruments, has been appointed as Director of the centre.

Ash Vadgama, Principal Computational Scientist at AWE PLC, has been appointed Deputy Director for Operations. Professor Simon Benjamin, Professor of Quantum Technologies at the University of Oxford, has been appointed Deputy Director for Research, and Dr Simon Plant, Innovation Lead for Quantum Technologies at Innovate UK, part of UKRI, has been appointed Deputy Director for Innovation.

NQCC Programme Team

A team has been assembled from across UKRI to deliver the programme to establish the NQCC. The members of this team along with their roles and responsibilities within the programme are listed below.

  • Liam Blackwell, Deputy Director, EPSRC-UKRI (Programme Senior Responsible Officer)
  • Jason Green, Deputy Director, STFC-UKRI (Lead for NQCC accommodation, Programme Executive)
  • Anke Davis, Head of Quantum Technologies, EPSRC-UKRI (NQCC Budget Holder and lead for NQCC operational design, Programme Executive)
  • Kevin Jones, Programme Manager, UKRI (NQCC Programme Manager)
  • Roz Hayward, Programme Coordinator, UKRI (NQCC Programme Coordinator)
  • Amanda Howes, Portfolio Manager, EPSRC-UKRI (NQCC Operational Design)
  • Stephen Loader, Programme Manager, STFC-UKRI (NQCC Accommodation)
  • Tahmina Aziz, Programme Manager, STFC-UKRI (NQCC Accommodation)

National Quantum Computing Centre Town Meeting

EPSRC held a town meeting on 21 August 2019 to engage with business, academia and government on the progress of the NQCC programme, and enable networking with peers. The slides presented at the town meeting (PDF) are available.

Information on the NQCC

If you have a question or require further information about the NQCC, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document (PDF) to see if your question if covered. If your question is not covered by this, please email your question to the NQCC Leadership team at NQCCLeadership@epsrc.ukri.org.