Brandenburg funds centre for quantum computing with 12.8 million euros

Zeuthen is a technology leader in the German state

Picture © DKosig

The Federal State of Brandenburg is supporting research into and the development of applications for novel quantum computers at DESY in Zeuthen. A new Centre for Quantum Technology Applications (CQTA) is to be created at the site, with the help of 12.8 million euros in funding to be paid over a period of five years from the Future Investment Fund of the State of Brandenburg. The centre will give researchers from DESY, along with external partners in research and industry, access to quantum computers in order to perform calculations on existing problems and to design and optimise new applications for quantum computers.

Brandenburg’s Minister of Science, Manja Schüle, says that “From the energy industry to medicine: when a large number of conditions need to be calculated for complex and interdependent interactions, quantum computing could in the future be the solution. I’m very pleased that a Centre for Quantum Technology Applications is to be established at DESY in Zeuthen over the coming years. We are happy to be supporting this development. I am convinced that this will give our state a leading role in the field and that it will also have an international impact. Research scientists from universities, scientific institutions and industry will develop new applications for complex quantum systems at the Zeuthen centre. The centre is of tremendous strategic importance for digitalisation in Brandenburg. Quantum computing is a game changer; quantum computing is a quantum leap for the region – for the future of science and industry.”

“Quantum technologies and particularly quantum computers are currently undergoing a rapid development worldwide and promise undreamt-of possibilities for research, but in some cases they also call for completely new approaches. With its scientific excellence and expertise, DESY will not only be actively participating in this development, but also helping to shape it,” says Christian Stegmann, DESY’s Director of Astroparticle Physics and the head of the DESY site in Zeuthen.

Quantum computing is based on quantum mechanical principles, and because of this it offers fascinating possibilities for using simulations or calculations to solve scientific problems that are very difficult, often even impossible, to solve by means of classical computers. The problem is that computers using this new technology have to be operated and “fed” with data in completely different ways to classical computers. The CQTA in Zeuthen is now to conduct research into how the new opportunities promised by quantum computing can best be exploited.

“Quantum computing could lead to a paradigm shift in the way we perform calculations and even in the way we do science,” says DESY’s Karl Jansen, the scientist who initiated and will be heading the CQTA in Zeuthen. “The centre in Zeuthen marks a milestone by firmly establishing quantum computing in Brandenburg and creating a hub for developing the corresponding applications in industry and science, even far beyond Brandenburg.”

The CQTA will develop novel applications for complex quantum systems and come up with optimisation algorithms for quantum computers working on current and future problems. Rather than setting up its own quantum computing hardware for this purpose, privileged access to commercial systems will be granted in close cooperation with industry, universities and research institutions. This means that the centre will always have access to the latest, state-of-the-art hardware in this rapidly developing field, while at the same time finding benchmarking and powerful, effective fields of application that are tailored to it.

An additional focus will lie on training young scientists in these applications to prepare them for using quantum computing on a daily basis, as is expected in the future.

In the medium term, the CQTA is to be embedded in an overall strategy for quantum technologies at DESY. A task force of scientists from Hamburg and Zeuthen is currently preparing a white paper on this.