Quantum lab set to boost discoveries

Edinburgh scientists are set to lead a major new research programme to expand the University’s world-leading expertise in quantum computing.

Quantum computing lab2
Professor Elham Kashefi meets George Freeman MP, Honourable Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy,at the UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2022, London. Credit: NQCC

The Quantum Software Lab, in collaboration with the National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) and based in the School of Informatics, will identify key challenges in the adoption of quantum computing and investigate new ways in which quantum computers can provide benefits, beyond the reach of traditional computers.  

Researchers from the Lab will work closely with industry partners to understand how quantum computers might help address their problems.

Advancements in science may enable new applications, and new applications may inspire new research directions, the team says.

The Lab’s theoretical research pillars will develop necessary tools for identifying and demonstrating any quantum advantage that one might obtain in a provable and reproducible way for specific industry situations.

New appointment

The new lab, to be launched in January 2023, will be led by Professor Elham Kashefi with support from a team of leading researchers including, Dr Chris Heunen, Dr Myrto Arapinis, Dr Raul Garcia Patron, Dr Petros Wallden from the School of Informatics and Dr Oliver Brown from EPCC.

Professor Kashefi has also been announced as NQCC Chief Scientist by the national centre on 9th November 2022. Her appointment was highlighted during a speech by George Freeman MP, Honourable Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, at the UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2022 held in London on 11th November.

Government programme

UK Research and Innovation, through EPSRC and STFC, has established NQCC as the national computing centre for the UK Governments £1 billion National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP). The Programme is dedicated to accelerating the development of quantum computing by addressing the challenges of scaling up the emerging technology.

Quantum discoveries

Quantum information processing is about finding algorithms and protocols that can solve problems more efficiently than its classical computing counterparts by storing and manipulating information within quantum systems.

Scientists from the Lab will engage with individuals and industries to better understand their practical problems and design new quantum computing functions to solve them.

They will also work with hardware providers and inform the development of devices that can be better adapted as the field of quantum computing develops. 

I am delighted Professor Kashefi is joining the National Quantum Computing Centre as Chief Scientist and her expertise will lead the development of Edinburgh’s Quantum Software Lab. Quantum computing has the potential to transform the digital world as we know it. It also holds the key to the technological future of many businesses, industries and research worldwide. Our new laboratory will enable a major step forward in our understanding of how quantum computers can provide advantages beyond classical computers in tackling major issues, including climate change and fraud.

Christina Boswell,Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise, Principals Office, University of Edinburgh.

I am thrilled and honoured to join the NQCC leadership team to establish the Quantum Software Lab together with my colleagues at Edinburgh and elsewhere in UK. The new lab will enable us to further quantum software, algorithms, and applications, with specific attention to opportunities in training and research for quantum advantage and removing barriers to successful adoption.

Professor Elham Kashefi,Personal Chair in Quantum Computing, School of Informatics.

This is a fantastic appointment. I am delighted Elham will be joining the NQCC as Chief Scientist and lead our effort in quantum software. It is vital the NQCC links into the research community and Elham’s broad experience and extended collaboration network supports this and further connects the NQCC to computer science more broadly. Elham is supported by an outstanding team in Edinburgh and this EPSRC funding will ensure continued success within her groups academic research programme.

Dr Michael Cuthbert,NQCC Director.

Related links

School of Informatics