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Government backs UK’s first quantum computer

Posted on 17 Sep 2020 and read 309 times
Government backs UK’s first quantum computerEarlier this month, Science Minister Amanda Solloway announced that the UK’s first quantum computer to be commercially available to businesses will be located in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

Backed by £10 million of Government and industry investment, it will be developed alongside experts from Oxford, London, Bristol and Edinburgh, and forms part of the Minister’s ambition for the UK to become the world’s first quantum-ready economy.

The new quantum computer will be developed by Rigetti Computing, a California-based developer of quantum integrated circuits that also developed a cloud-based platform allowing computer programmers to write quantum algorithms. It will work alongside Oxford Instruments, Standard Chartered and Bristol, and London-based quantum software start-up Phasecraft, as well as the University of Edinburgh.

Ms Solloway said: “Our ambition is to be the world’s first quantum-ready economy, which could provide UK businesses and industries with billions of pounds worth of opportunities. Therefore, I am delighted that companies across the country will have access to our first commercial quantum computer.

“This a key part of our plan to build back better using the latest technology, attract the brightest and best talent to the UK and encourage world-leading companies to invest here.”

Chad Rigetti, CEO of Rigetti Computing, said: “There are currently only a small number of quantum computing platforms being developed around the world, presenting an opportunity for the UK to be at the forefront of this technology. The activities announced today will help promote quantum computing across the UK economy, providing businesses with the best opportunity to take advantage of these new technologies in the years to come.”

Ms Solloway also launched the UK’s National Quantum Computer Centre, based at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, which will “place the UK at the forefront of this transformative new technology. The Centre will bring together academia, businesses and the government to address key challenges to quantum computing, such as scaling-up this technology and making it commercially viable and explore how they can create economic value.”

The Government first announced it would establish the National Quantum Computing Centre in 2018 and has committed to invest £93 million in the venture.