Quantum project for digital twins

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

A German project is aiming to develop three quantum computers for data centre applications, including how to use them for digital twin models.

The €76m QSolid project is based at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, which runs the leading supercomputer cluster. The project has 25 partners and aims to develop a comprehensive ecosystem for a demonstrator based on superconducting qubits similar to those used by IBM and Intel.

Forschungszentrum Jülich will operate at least three different quantum chips in parallel. The first is a “moonshot” system with computing power exceeding that of conventional supercomputers, the second is an application-specific system designed to perform quantum calculations for industry, and the third is a benchmarking platform that prioritizes the development of digital twins and industry standards.

The next-generation quantum processors will mainly be manufactured in the Helmholtz Nano Facility at Forschungszentrum Jülich. This 1,000-square-metre cleanroom complex run by the Helmholtz Association is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for the production and characterization of quantum components. By 2025, an additional facility will be built in the form of the Helmholtz Quantum Center (HQC), a specially designed laboratory infrastructure for quantum computing. Chip maker Global Foundries is also part of the project.

The first prototypes of the planned demonstrators in QSolid are being produced at Leibniz IHPT in Jena and are expected to be operational by 2024. A production line for superconducting circuits is already in place at IHPT and will be converted to create a pilot line for superconducting quantum circuits as part of the QSolid project.

These will be made accessible to external users via the Jülich UNified Infrastructure for Quantum computing (JUNIQ) and tailored to their individual needs.

“Our focus is on improving the quality of the quantum bits, a goal we are pursuing on all levels in QSolid,” said Prof. Frank Wilhelm-Mauch from Forschungszentrum Jülich.

“The optimizations we have in mind start with next-generation superconducting circuits with a particularly low error rate, which we plan to achieve using high-precision manufacturing methods and new material systems, for example. Other essential elements include optimal control of the qubits as well as state-of-the-art error avoidance methods based on artificial intelligence (AI) on a firmware level, an area in which QSolid aims to set new standards,” said Wilhelm-Mauch.

Seven subinstitutes from Jülich’s Peter Grünberg Institute are contributing their expertise to the project; the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), the Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analytics (ZEA-2), and Qruise – a spin-off of Forschungszentrum Jülich – have also taken on a number of important tasks. Other research partners that are contributing valuable specialist knowledge include Fraunhofer IPMS and Fraunhofer IZM-ASSID, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), , the National Metrology Institute (PTB), CiS Forschungsinstitut für Mikrosensorik, and a number of universities including Ulm University, the University of Stuttgart, Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Konstanz, the University of Cologne, and Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.

Other manufacturers and start-ups are involved in setting up a national development and supply chain include ParityQC, HQS, IQM, Rosenberger HF-Technik, supracon, ParTec, Racyics, AdMOS, LPKF Laser & Electronics, Atotech, Atos science+computing and Zurich Instruments Germany.

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