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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.