All questions answered by Frank Wilhelm-Mauch from the Universität des Saarlandes, Germany.
What do you want to achieve in this project?
We want to build a quantum computer with up to 100 qubits and high-precision operations through the OpenSuperQ project. This is a size that, in certain tasks, by far outperforms today’s classical supercomputers. The quantum computer will have integrated circuits made from superconductors at its core while offering the complete hardware and software stack for a functioning computer with a programming interface. The final machine will be accessible at the Jülich supercomputing centre for European researchers and other potential users. We plan to make the supporting technology available as the foundation of a European quantum computing ecosystem.
How will European citizens benefit from this project, both from the technology developments it accomplishes as well as the basic science breakthroughs it may achieve?
There is a lot of computing at the level of data centres and supercomputers that we use without seeing it – it drives big data applications, navigation systems and artificial intelligence. Quantum computing has the potential to dramatically accelerate progress in these areas, providing us with an even more powerful computer-driven infrastructure. Applications in quantum chemistry enabled by our machine can dramatically impact industrial processes by making them more efficient. European citizens will also be able to use the final machine and learn about quantum computer programming in a guided way.
Why is the Quantum Flagship important and why did you choose to become part of it?
The Quantum Technologies Flagship takes quantum technologies from basic research to real applications. In a field like ours, this is crucial: while we have a strong track record in developing the components of a quantum computer on laboratory scale, the structure of the Flagship gives us the opportunity to approach the engineering and technology development required to build a real machine. We also see that it has catalysed an interest from potential users who would like to explore what our quantum computer can do for them.
How do you see the advancement of quantum technologies in the near future and what would be your ultimate dream in the long run?
We are experiencing a phase of steep development – now that we can turn ideas into machines. We will see that some of the applications we envisage become reality. What is more important is that engaging more and more scientists and users will enable us to find used cases that we do not yet envisage – very much as the pioneers of classical computing did not anticipate today’s digital economy.
Our dream is that quantum computers will drive the central engine of these applications – quantum-enabled computing tasks will be a commodity in high-performance computing.