Quantum computers promise unprecedented computing power for applications where conventional data processors based on "zeros and ones" fail. In the new Trapped-Ion Quantum Computer for Applications (ATIQ) project, 25 partners from research institutions are now working together with industrial partners to develop quantum computer demonstrators implemented together with users of quantum computers.
The partners will tackle major technical challenges to realize quantum computer demonstrators made in Germany and to facilitate 24/7 access for users. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project with a total of EUR 37.4 million.
The ATIQ project aims to develop a first generation of reliable, user-friendly quantum computing demonstrators based on ion trap technology available 24/7 within 30 months. To this end, the leading groups in ion trap research at the universities of Hannover/ Braunschweig, Siegen, and Mainz have joined forces with research institutions and industrial partners.
"We want to take the next big step together. ATIQ is intended to be the crystallization point for a German ecosystem of ion trap quantum technology, bringing together technology partners, research, and users resulting in relevant commercial exploitation," said project coordinator Professor Christian Ospelkaus of Leibniz University Hannover and Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig, summarizing the motivation for this project.
"Instead of classical bits, a quantum computer uses qubits, for which ions are the ideal storage medium. We develop the best control of these qubits, even in large quantum registers," said Professor Dr. Christof Wunderlich from the University of Siegen. "Combining a classical high-performance computer with such a quantum co-processor is an unbeatable pairing for new computing tasks," added Professor Ferdinand Schmidt-Kaler of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). "Especially if you combine a classical high-performance computer with such a quantum coprocessor, this team is unbeatable for new computing tasks" adds Professor Ferdinand Schmidt-Kaler from the University of Mainz.
Robust and Scalable Quantum Hardware
ATIQ has enormous potential for economic and scientific success. Quantum computers promise unprecedented computing power for applications where classical high-performance computers by themselves fail completely. The combination of classical high-performance computing and quantum computing, on the other hand, opens up completely new applications.
Thus there is an urgent need for Germany to provide robust and scalable quantum hardware. The ATIQ consortium aims to optimize hardware for applications in chemistry. Novel chemical substances and the reactions necessary to produce them could then be simulated on quantum computers. They could also be applied in finance, paving the way for new approaches in credit risk assessment.
The core of the ATIQ quantum processor is based on ion trap technology, which is recognized worldwide as one of the most promising routes to quantum computing. However, current systems are complex laboratory machines requiring considerable maintenance and calibration efforts by highly qualified personnel.
ATIQ addresses these technical challenges to manage continuous operation with reliable, high-quality computing operations. For this purpose, the ATIQ consortium, in collaboration with technology and industry partners, optimizes the control of the processors with electronic and optical signals, thus enabling external users to execute computing algorithms independently. Furthermore, such optimization may be used for upscaling the quantum demonstrators from an initial 10 to more than 100 qubits.
The consortium's strength is based on the expertise as developers of the ion trap technology as well as on physical and technical fundamentals at the universities and research institutions of Leibniz University Hannover / PTB Braunschweig, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, and the University of Siegen together with other research facilities, strong industry and technology partners as well as users and alliances such as the Quantum Valley Lower Saxony.