University College London (UCL) is joining forces with Google to launch a £5.5m partnership that aims to use the power of quantum computers for modelling and simulation applications.
Called the Prosperity Partnership, the initiative is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and is a collaboration between the UCL Quantum Science and Technology Institute, Google Quantum AI Lab and the University of Bristol Quantum Information Institute.
The deal also includes UK start-up companies GTN and PhaseCraft, and will study and develop quantum software for modelling and simulation. It's therefore hoped the project will help develop the foundation of a quantum software industry in the UK.
Quantum simulation can help scientists to understand and predict the behaviour of materials and chemical reactions, but the quantum mechanical effects in these systems makes them very hard to accurately model using current supercomputers.
Scientists hope that the new partnership will help in the discovery and development of new materials, chemicals and drugs, leading to the design of new products such as high-density batteries and more efficient solar panels. The partners will develop the algorithms, verification tools and benchmarks needed to realise the power of quantum simulation.
"Quantum computers are poised to surpass the capabilities of today's supercomputers," said Professor John Morton of the UCL Quantum Science and Technology Institute. "This partnership will develop quantum software to exploit this computational power, leading to the discovery of new materials, chemicals and drugs, impacting sectors including energy, transport and healthcare."
The partnership will officially start in January and run for five years.
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP, added: "The new partnership, bringing together leading universities and the country's start-ups, will help us realise the potential of quantum to solve problems today's computers are unable to address."
It's said that the programme will contribute to the Government's goal of investing 2.4 per cent of GDP into research and development within the next 10 years, with a long term goal of three per cent.
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