BSC will coordinate Quantum Spain, the national quantum computing ecosystem

October 29, 2021 – The Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) has started coordination work on the Quantum Spain project, which involves the construction and installation of the first quantum computer based on European technology. The strategic objective of the Quantum Spain project, approved last Tuesday by the Council of Ministers, is to create a strong quantum computing ecosystem in Spain.

Quantum Spain involves 25 universities and infrastructure and supercomputing centers, from 14 autonomous communities and will be managed by BSC, as the main node of the Spanish supercomputing network (RES). The project coordinator will be the doctor in quantum computing Alba Cervera, researcher at the BSC.

The project provides for the construction of a quantum computer which will be installed at BSC’s headquarters and which will gradually be equipped with chips of different generations and numbers of qubits. The qubit is the basic unit of quantum computing and the Quantum Spain project will use qubits based on superconducting circuit technology. The construction of the hardware store will be carried out in collaboration with companies specializing in this emerging sector.

Alba Cervera-Lierta,
Senior researcher and coordinator of the Quantum Spain project.

It is expected that the computer will have a first operational two-qubit chip by the end of 2022 and will gradually integrate new versions of chips, until reaching 20 qubits by 2025. “The objective of Quantum Spain n It’s not to compete with other quantum computers. in number of qubits. We want quality over quantity. This is a realistic project that commits to having a powerful quantum computer, but not at the cost of sacrificing the quantum properties that make it special. The goal is to have a device that is quality, functional, useful and can be used to solve real problems in the near future. We hope that it will be useful for Spain to develop its own algorithms, to promote its transversal use both for research and for companies and to train future users of this technology.

The priority: create a quantum ecosystem

Quantum Spain’s priority, framed in the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (ENIA), is to establish a strong quantum computing ecosystem in Spain, leveraging and promoting the talent of local researchers who are experts in this technology. This objective is based on four pillars:

  • The quantum computer.
  • The development of useful quantum algorithms applicable to real problems of users, companies and public entities.
  • The creation of a remote access system in the cloud to allow industry and the public sector to experiment with new quantum algorithms.
  • A training program to increase the capacities of potential users of quantum computing and for all nodes of the Spanish Supercomputing Network (RES) to be able to serve future users of these technologies.

A technology with intense international competition

Quantum computing has potential applications in AI, quantum chemistry, finance, production chain process optimization, cryptography, cybersecurity, logistics and in many problems that require intense computing needs. Currently, this is one of the areas of research and development on which a more intense international career is being pursued and various countries have already announced their intention to obtain computers based on quantum technologies.

One of the peculiarities of Quantum Spain’s commitment is that it does not intend to join this race by purchasing equipment from third countries and is committed to developing its own technology, limiting the dependence and maintain the maximum possible degree of technological and economic sovereignty.

Centers that will facilitate access and support for users of quantum computers.

This program is fully in line with the European commitment to quantum computing, through the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking alliance, which promotes European capabilities in supercomputing. The aim of the Commission and the countries as a whole is to provide European HPC users with quantum computers integrated in large intensive computing centers, such as BSC. This will coincide with the growing demand for this type of computation from industry and the world and will encourage the emergence of true use case applications in Europe.

Centers that will facilitate access and support for users of quantum computers.

Another priority of the project is to promote synergies between quantum technologies and artificial intelligence – a field known as “Quantum Machine Learning” -, taking advantage of the characteristics of quantum infrastructures to facilitate the process of training certain algorithms. deep learning.

This project, led by the State Secretariat for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence (SEDIA) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, is part of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan and measure 15 of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (ENIA), thus also progressing in the implementation of the Digital Spain 2025 agenda.

Source: Barcelona High Performance Computing Center

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