CCP-QC is a network linking computational scientists with quantum computing scientists and engineers, to develop some of the first useful applications of quantum computers. Quantum computing is promising fundamentally faster computation as part of broader quantum technology development that includes more secure communications, and more sensitive measurements and imaging.
Our conventional computers, including those in mobile phones, modern cars, and powering the internet, are based on silicon semiconductor technology. After half a century of growth, silicon semiconductor computer chips have been at the limit of what they can do for the past decade. Faster computing requires more computers, which use more electricity and this growth is thus limited.
Quantum computing uses a different logic, enabling much faster computing for some types of problems. The engineering challenges are formidable, and we are still at the stage equivalent to the first semiconductor chips in the early 1960s. Early quantum computers are already available: developing applications to suit the capabilities of this hardware is the next step, to enable us to take advantage of the opportunities they offer to speed up our computations.
An important set of computational tasks in materials, chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering is developed by communities supported by collaborative computational projects (CCPs). CCP-QC will network across these CCPs and the quantum computing community, to enable the CCP communities to enhance their computations by using quantum computers.
It will do this by organising joint meetings, holding training days to teach computational scientists about quantum computing, supporting small projects to develop proof-of principle code and demonstrations on early quantum computing hardware, and providing an online information resource on early quantum computing applications. CCP-QC will interface with the new National Quantum Computing Centre and based on the STFC Harwell campus in Oxfordshire. CCP-QC will enable quantum computing hardware providers to have their hardware tested with real problems of importance to the computational science communities.
The outcomes of such tests can thus influence the development of quantum computing hardware, leading to faster development of useful applications that are adapted to extract the best advantage from the early quantum hardware. The simulations carried out by the CCP communities cover a wide range of important applications, from smart materials (e.g., better solar cells and batteries) to drug design (bio-molecular simulation).
CCP-QC will thus contribute to the development of faster computational methods in many important applications with wide-ranging scientific, social and economic benefits.