03/04/2019

The future of quantum technologies

C. Brukner, Ä. Baumeler and C. Budroni, researchers at IQOQI-Vienna, will collaborate with other world-leading scientists in the project "Quantum Information Systems Beyond Classical Capabilities (BeyondC)".

A major goal of modern research and industry hope is to go beyond the possibilities of classical technologies. The project BeyondC, which started on March 1 and is coordinated by the University of Vienna, uses the unique properties of quantum physics. World-leading scientists from eleven research groups in Austria and one partner group at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Germany aim at combining their skills, both theoretical and experimental, and demonstrate the "quantum superiority" with concrete systems.

The control of quantum systems is one of the most important and influential achievements of the 20th century. In particular, the quantum information theory has developed into a very broad area of research, which is visible far beyond its borders. A prominent example is the intensive research that has led to algorithms for quantum computers in recent decades. Besides the advances have paved the way for secure data transfer methods and proposals for classical and quantum mechanical machine learning. Despite these developments, current devices for quantum information processing can still be classically simulated. They, therefore, offer no advantage over their classical counterparts. The realisation of large quantum devices with their diverse applications requires further advances in quantum technology and a strong theoretical study.

As part of BeyondC, world-leading quantum scientists from Austria and Germany have come together to exploit the possibilities beyond the boundaries of classical technologies. They are now developing concrete quantum systems that demonstrate "quantum superiority" - the ability of quantum computers to solve unworkable problems for their classical counterparts. For this purpose, the Austrian Science Fund FWF has equipped this special research area under the direction of Philip Walther from the University of Vienna and Barbara Kraus from the University of Innsbruck with € 5.3 million. In addition, € 0.28 million from the German Research Foundation (DFG) are assigned to the theory department of Ignacio Cirac at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Germany. The consortium's goal is to design and use new methods and tools to characterise, validate, and manipulate quantum systems that could also bring to an industrial application.

What makes "BeyondC" unique is the diverse and interdisciplinary expertise of the scientifically outstanding consortium, which is dedicated to a common goal. Renowned quantum scientists from six experimental and six theoretical research groups at the University of Vienna, the University of Innsbruck, the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), the IST Austria and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching, Germany, join in the new consortium. The members bring their three research branches - photons, ions in ion traps and superconducting circuits - and create, by combining these systems, previously unattainable advantages.

The studies provide ways to go beyond the capabilities of classical computers and have the potential to set scientific milestones in numerous areas of research, ranging from secure data processing to molecular and material design to machine learning.