Many private parties are working, largely individually, on a quantum computer. South Holland is doing something unique. Here, 6 private parties are working together to get a quantum computer with high-quality equipment working: the so-called ImpaQT project. If this is successful, it will give this region a unique position worldwide as a supplier of quantum equipment. Individual parties, such as large corporates, mainly focus on the largest possible computing power (qubits). However, they do this with parts that were not actually designed for it, such as relatively large coaxial cables. This will bring you to a point, but real scaling up is not possible. The 6 parties each focus on a separate component and make it suitable for large-scale quantum computers. Within the ImpaQT project they work together to connect the components properly. With this they can bring about a strong acceleration in quantum technology. InnovationQuarter brought the ImpaQT parties into contact with major end users; MRDH (Metropolitan Region of Rotterdam and The Hague), Quantum Delta NL and the companies are now investing more than € 600,000 together to get the so-called Nano NISQ computer working with high-quality equipment. The pilot phase will start in November.
“It’s like trying to make a car when you only have the parts of a bicycle. You’ll come a long way, but getting on the highway becomes tricky. That’s how a lot of large parties get started with quantum as a matter of necessity,” says Daan Kuitenbrouwer of Delft Circuits. “They are building a huge computer, but with ‘components from other industries’. Those parties are moving fast now, but in the long run they run into a wall. Quantum Computer builders simply don’t have 25 people working full-time on the cabling. These six parties are therefore working together within the Quantum Delft hub on real, scalable ‘quantum equipment’. This ranges from cabling to control electronics and quickly available quantum processors. All parties are very innovative and good in their field. And thanks to this collaboration, we are now going even faster.”
South Holland offers a total package: keyboard, mouse and software
Participants in the consortium are Qu&Co, OrangeQS, Qblox, Delft Circuits, QuantWare and Demcon. “Within quantum, we can gain a worldwide position here in South Holland. By way of comparison: ASML makes equipment to make chips for computers. That’s a relatively niche area within a huge market. But within quantum computing we make all state-of-the-art equipment here,” says Jacqueline Schardijn (InnovationQuarter), who involved three major end users in the project. “We don’t just make the computer here, but also the keyboard, mouse and software, as it were. And we are the best in all those areas. With this project we now want to demonstrate that you can link these state-of-the-art products together and quickly conduct experiments with them. Then South Holland offers a ‘one-stop-shop’ for major players worldwide. This is therefore the time for major industry players to step in when it comes to software applications.”
In the first three months of this year, the ImpaQT consortium has built a 1-qubit system from off-the-shelf components from the various partners. This was a first because of the speed and a first purely private collaboration in this area. The sequel is a computer of 5 qubits. “That’s not that much, but the value of this project is not in the computing power, but in the knowledge and product development that this collaboration enables,” says Daan Kuitenbrouwer. “This is a project to get really excited about.”