£210 million for UK quantum computing AI centre

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) is being created at the Daresbury Laboratory near Halton in Cheshire with a focus on quantum computing and machine learning.

The £210m (€245m) investment over the next five years is expected to create 60 scientific jobs and provide students with the opportunity to gain experience. The unit will support the application of AI and quantum computing to such tasks as optimising complex logistics such as picking and packing orders in large warehouses for supermarkets; traffic routing; energy distribution; improving design and manufacturing processes.

The HNCDI work across sectors including materials, life sciences, environment and manufacturing. This will include collaboration with academic and industrial research communities, including startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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The government said it will invest £172 million over 5 years through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with an additional £38 million being invested by IBM. £28 million of the government’s investment will be in the first year.

“This partnership establishes our first Discovery Accelerator in Europe driven by our two UK-based IBM Research locations in Hursley and Daresbury as they contribute to our global mission of building discovery-driven communities around the world,” said Dario Gil, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, in a statement issued by the UK government’s Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, in a statement.

Daresbury Lab began operations in 1962 and was officially opened on 16 June 1967 as the Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory.

The UK government is also funding the purchase of a quantum computer from Rigetti Systems to be built at Harwell in Oxfordshire.

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