Swiss centre aims for 100 qubit quantum computer

May 19, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Swiss centre aims for 100 qubit quantum computer
ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland have set up a joint centre for the development of the next generation of quantum computer.

ETH Zurich is providing CHF32m ($32m) for the Quantum Computing Hub in Villgen which will host around 30 researchers. They will work on quantum computer designs with 100 qubits using both ion traps and superconducting components.

Researchers at ETH Zurich currently operate quantum computers with up to 17 quantum bits, so-called qubits. For quantum computers to be able to unfold their full potential one day, however, devices with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of qubits are needed.

The next step is to develop quantum computers with more than 100 qubits.

ETH Zurich has been working closely with IBM Zurich on quantum computer technology for decades and in 2019 joined the IBM Q Network with Aalto University, University of Turku, EPFL, University of the Basque Country and The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory.

"The cooperation with PSI will enable ETH to further expand its leading position in the field of quantum-computing engineering," said Detlef Günther, Vice President for Research at ETH Zurich. ETH professors Andreas Wallraff and Jonathan Home will lead research in the two technology areas of superconducting circuits and ion traps respectively at the Centre. “What is special about the Quantum Computing Hub is that these two technologies are explored in the same laboratory,” said Wallraff.

While the hardware of ion and superconductor-based quantum computers is fundamentally different, he sees potential synergies, for example in the development of operating systems. In the future, further groups working on related topics will complement the research centre.

“At PSI, we have been working on industry-related quantum technology for some time. We also develop and use quantum technology for particle physics,” says Gabriel Aeppli, Head of the Photon Science Division at PSI in Villigen. "The new hub that will be established now together with ETH Zurich is a great addition".

PSI will provide its know-how in the implementation of large-scale research projects as well as in cryo-electronics and nanofabrication and in extremely precise measurement methods at its large-scale research facilities. The Quantum Computing Hub will be located on the PSI campus in Villigen, Canton of Aargau in an existing building converted specifically for research on quantum computers.

The quantum computer designs developed in the hub will be made available to researchers from various departments, to provide them with direct access to a test bed for two leading technologies.

www.Psi.ch; www.eth.ch

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Picture: 
Superconducting quantum chip with 17 qubits installed in a mounting with 48 control lines. (Photo: ETH Zurich/Quantum Device Lab)

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