09 Jun 2020   |   Network Updates   |   Update from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
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AUAS launches quantum computing research group


The Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI) and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) are jointly establishing a new special professorship: Applied Quantum Computing. This research group makes a connection between fundamental research and practical issues. In collaboration with Capgemini and the research institute QuSoft, the research will explored which quantum computing applications are feasible in the future and whether quantum algorithms and protocols developed within QuSoft can be further developed into applications. Knowledge gained within the research group will also be used to develop educational resources. The AUAS has appointed Marten Teitsma as professor by special appointment to lead this research group.

In order to accelerate quantum technology science and innovation in the Netherlands, knowledge institutes, companies and the government cooperate in the Quantum Delta Netherlands foundation (QDNL). QuSoft is a collaboration between CWI and the University of Amsterdam, and serves as the Dutch research centre for quantum software. It conducts fundamental research into algorithms, protocols, and software for quantum technology, making knowledge available to industry and society. The AUAS is the first university of applied sciences to set up a professorship focused on quantum computing. It is a 'special professorship' because it will be established for a certain period of time, depending on the availability of funding. Applied Quantum Computing is co-financed by the Taskforce for Applied Research SIA.

Quantum computing, communication and sensing

Since the dawn quantum mechanics at the beginning of the 20th century, the understanding of how particles in nature behave on the smallest scale has developed to such an extent that it has become possible to measure and control their properties on that level. In the so-called second quantum revolution, scientific research is being conducted worldwide to make this technology smart and to develop new applications in the field of quantum computing, communication and sensing.

- In quantum computing, quantum mechanical effects such as superposition and interference are used to solve certain problems faster. Although there are no quantum computers that can make full use of this, there is a great need worldwide to develop them and to investigate their use.

Quantum communication makes use of teleportation, in which particles are coupled over a large distance. This makes it possible to communicate safely without eavesdropping.

Quantum sensing refers to the enormous sensitivity of the smallest particles so that changes in e.g. magnetism can be detected much more accurately.

Potential industry applications

Within the research group Applied Quantum Computing, the AUAS will investigate whether and how quantum computing can be used in different practical applications. The research focuses on possible implementations of theoretical algorithms and protocols developed by CWI and QuSoft, or other knowledge institutions.

In order to translate theory into practice, the group will work with industry cases from the business community (e.g. from Capgemini). One example of such research is using quantum approaches to enhance fraud detection at banks, combining techniques from artificial intelligence with quantum computing algorithms. Another example of practical application could the discovery of new drugs, accelerated by new quantum simulation algorithms. For quantum sensing, a link is sought with research at technical universities as well as QuSoft, where research is being conducted into a new generation of extremely precise atomic clocks, for example.

Connection to worldwide trends

Professor by special appointment, Marten Teitsma, will start at the AUAS on 1 September 2020. After earning a PhD in artificial intelligence, Teitsma expanded his activities towards education development. At the AUAS he has initiated various activities in the field of quantum computing. Teitsma: “With this special research group, Dutch higher professional education will be connected to a major global development. The consequences of quantum technology are not yet foreseeable, but will potentially affect our lives in many ways.” Universities of applied sciences, with their extensive knowledge in the field of education and experience in practice-based research, play an essential role in linking science and society to deliver advances in  quantum technology.

Quantum technology as a game changer

Julian van Velzen is a consultant at Capgemini and closely involved in the establishment of the new professorship. He says that quantum technology is transitioning from the laboratory to practical application. "After that it will be a game changer in sectors such as life science, finance and operations. We will face many challenges; from stability of qubits, quantum algorithms and software, to innovation strategy. During this transformation, strong collaboration between government, business, research and education will be essential. The collaboration between AUAS, CWI and Capgemini is a great example of this," says Van Velzen.

This article was first published on 13 May by AUAS.

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