Computers and computing are ubiquitous in our lives but even they, in their current form, find some problems 'hard' or unsolvable, i.e. problems that are too big and complex to solve because they scale exponentially with size. All hope of solving problems such as the 'Travelling Salesman' (important in optimization) or the many-body Schrödinger equation (important in quantum and materials chemistry) falls on the 'motherboards' (or equivalent) of quantum computers. Currently, it is not possible to simply build one, plug it in and start churning out solutions; a whole raft of foundational work is needed to ensure that ultimately, quantum computers are fit-for-purpose.
This is where the newly formed Computational Collaborative Project: Quantum Computing (CCP-QC) plays a vital role. Led by Dr Viv Kendon (Durham University), CCP-QC aims to bridge the gap between quantum computing experts and the computational science community – especially through cross-training of Early Career Researchers.
CCP-QC is supported by CoSeC (Computational Science Centre for Research Communities). It is hosted and managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, both of which are part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Dr Kendon and the CCP-QC management team - comprising scientists and engineers across the CCPs, UK universities, National Labs and industry – see the role of CCP-QC as facilitating the incorporation of quantum computing within existing communities. This will be achievable by actively:
- organising joint meetings with other CCPs and the quantum computing community;
- holding training days to teach computational scientists about quantum computing;
- running small projects to develop proof-of-principle code and demonstrations on early quantum computing hardware with STFC support;
- providing an online information resource on scientific applications of quantum computing.
CCP-QC will have access to hardware via the National Quantum Computing Centre (now under construction) on the same site as STFC's Scientific Computing Department, Harwell campus, Oxfordshire. Currently there are no hardware developers in the CCP-QC management team, but hardware companies and developers will be invited to meetings and workshops. It is important to understand the current limitations to running computations, and to have access to the current hardware to plan for the next generation hardware. Computational Scientists - just as they did for classical computing - will have a significant input, thereby playing a large role in progressing the field of quantum computing.
Within CCP-QC’s initial five-year term, there are four
exciting computational projects planned in the fields of: chemistry,
engineering, (fluid dynamics) physics and crystallography. The first project:
‘Methods for quantum enhancing computational chemistry applications‘ is
CoSeC wishes CCP-QC well as is it steers a revolutionary change in the computational aspect of the CCPs – perhaps they will (eventually) become collectively called: Collaborative Quantum Computational Projects…….
To find out more about CCP-QC and how to get involved, visit the website: CCP-QC
Chair: Dr Viv Kendon (Durham University)
Secretary: Dr Alin Elena (UKRI-STFC Scientific Computing Department, Daresbury Lab)