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.
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.
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.
- Leverage the academic research strengths in quantum computing developed through the first phase of the NQTP and from the long term investment UKRI, primarily through EPSRC, has made into Quantum Information Science.
- Solve key challenges in scaling quantum computing systems, through developing demonstrators and prototypes at scale.
- Develop software and algorithms for real quantum computing systems that will exploit the potential of this technology for academic, industrial and entrepreneurial users.
- Develop a UK-based user community for quantum computing so that development of this technology is shaped by users' needs and can be exploited to the benefit of the UK.
- Identify the best options to pursue to realise both intermediate and fully scalable, fault tolerant general purpose quantum computers, such that by 2025 a credible roadmap towards the latter has been developed.
- Deliver a computing capability that goes beyond that delivered through conventional classical computing in a range of meaningful tasks by 2025, and so enable developer and users to access real quantum computing technology.
- Catalyse the growth of a vibrant UK industrial quantum sector.
The deliverables of this programme to achieve these objectives are:
- Establish a NQCC leadership team and launch the centre late 2019/early 2020.
- Have a fully operational NQCC by summer 2021, in a physical infrastructure that can host an integrated development programme in quantum computing.
- Deliver a Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum computing capability that for a range of tasks outperforms state-of-the-art conventional computing by 2025.
- 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
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)
- Lucy Martin, 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)
- Anke Davis, Senior Portfolio Manager, EPSRC-UKRI (NQCC Operational Design)
- Amanda Howes, Portfolio Manager, EPSRC-UKRI (NQCC Operational Design)
- Stephen Loader, Programme Manager, STFC-UKRI (NQCC Accommodation)