Largest British industry-led quantum computing project launches

Quantum Computing

Nine major organisations from the UK’s quantum industry have announced the launch of DISCOVERY – the largest industry-led quantum computing project in Britain to date. 

The £10 million research programme will address technology barriers to commercial quantum computing. The programme is part-funded by the UK Quantum Technologies Challenge, led by UK Research and Innovation.

To be led by M Squared, the international supplier of photonics and quantum systems headquartered in Glasgow, it includes a further organisations that are leaders in their respective fields. These include Oxford Ionics, based at Begbroke Science Park in Oxford, ORCA Computing, Kelvin Nanotechnology and TMD Technologies, which will work closely with the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and Oxford, along with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

At present, there are several promising approaches to commercially viable quantum computing – this project will specifically address three methods enabled by photonics that offer the highest fidelities demonstrated to date: neutral atom, ion trap and optical qubits. These approaches represent the state-of-the-art in demonstrated hardware; however, barriers to commercial deployment remain with the challenge of increasing both qubit fidelity and qubit scalability. The programme will demonstrate a shift from fundamental, academic activity to scalable, commercial implementations. 

Another core objective of DISCOVERY is to develop the wider UK quantum-computing sector, and therefore the project will also support in establishing commercial hardware supply and roadmaps for industrial deployment of these technologies. The selected partners have extensive experience in the sector and can already demonstrate commercial deployment of relevant technologies across the global market for quantum information systems.

Roger McKinlay, Challenge Director for the Quantum Technologies Challenge, said: “This investment comes under the umbrella of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme which is set to make a £1B investment over its lifetime. The Discovery team exemplifies the vibrant ecosystem which is a hallmark of the UK quantum sector and its technical expertise – which is impressive – is well matched with commercial nous and in-depth market knowledge.”