Ireland’s first dedicated Quantum Computer Engineering Centre (QCEC) has been launched at the national institute for ICT research Tyndall National Institute
Based at University College Cork, the multi-million-euro investment will see 900 sq. meters of research space dedicated to quantum technology at Tyndall’s new facility on Cork’s North Mall. The space will be a key part of the Institute’s plans to double in size and impact by 2025.
Tyndall is also recruiting five new senior research leaders, including a head of quantum research to lead the overall centre and who will build new quantum research teams to accelerate the growth of the centre. Overall, this new investment will result in an additional 45 quantum research jobs giving a further boost to Tyndall’s quantum ecosystem that already counts the highest concentration of researchers in Ireland.
“Tyndall never stops looking ahead,” said Prof William Scanlon CEO of Tyndall National Institute. “Our pioneering embrace of next generation technology has already profoundly impacted the semiconductor industry, high-speed optical communications networks, medical devices and many other areas based on nanotechnology, microelectronics and photonics research.
“The next great leap in technology is quantum computing, which will have a huge impact on the future of the ICT industry and across many application areas. We are not on the cusp, but already in the process of the quantum revolution. Functioning quantum computers exist today, and around the world, academia, governments, and industry are investing significantly in trying to develop more robust and scalable methods of realising the technology, so that it eventually surpasses today’s classical computers and will be accessible and impactful for the many and not just the few.
“Tyndall, and Ireland, has an opportunity to play a pivotal part in moving quantum science from theory to practice, particularly in developing innovative ways to make the technology more powerful, and scalable through integration of quantum devices, hardware and software. Many organisations worldwide are working on quantum computing behind closed doors, but we are a country that has an open innovation ecosystem at its heart. In addition, most of the major tech companies and ICT innovators are based here, and we are experienced at bringing new technologies to market. We therefore have the people, the technology enablers and the industry partners to spearhead Ireland’s place in delivering the impact of the quantum revolution.”
Tyndall has been at the forefront of quantum technology research in Ireland for 10 years and is already pioneering Irish efforts in engineering next generation quantum technology using deep-tech photonics and nano-electronics, working on a number of ambitious projects with industry partners.
It is also a partner in several European projects on quantum engineering, including the realisation of single-photon sources at telecommunication wavelengths, the development of cryogenic electronics for scalable quantum computing technologies, and the offering of research infrastructure to enable research on materials and nanostructures for quantum computing and sensing.
Quantum requires new types of hardware, software and communication technologies, using an entirely different logic to conventional computers utilising Boolean algebra, the building blocks of computer technology developed by the first professor of mathematics at UCC. Tyndall’s core research work to date has been in Quantum Cryptography for secure communications and sources of quantum light for quantum information (quantum internet and quantum computation).
Announcing Tyndall’s quantum research programme and vision for delivering innovations in Quantum Computer Engineering for Ireland, Giorgos Fagas, head of EU programmes at Tyndall and interim head of Tyndall QCEC, said: “With Brexit, Ireland has an even greater opportunity to become a leading open innovation hub for Quantum research. Ireland can build on existing successes in information and communication technologies to lead in the realisation and exploitation of quantum technologies. We can ensure that Ireland is quantum technology ready by facilitating the current and future workforce to develop the skills to deliver innovations in Quantum Technologies and exploit the new opportunities arising from the disruptive transformation enabled by quantum computing. This allows Ireland to develop a competitive edge in the global quantum market, which could attract other technology companies to partner with us and/or locate in Ireland, which will deliver huge societal and economic benefits.”
One of the keynote speakers at the event, Prof Dominic O’Brien, director of the UK’s quantum computing & simulation Hub, said it is critical that Ireland actively participates in the quantum revolution. Meanwhile, industry leaders including Dr James Clarke, director of Quantum Hardware at Intel Corporation, and Dr Ruoyi Zhou, director of IBM Research, Ireland, spoke about the immense opportunities for Ireland, their companies’ ambition for quantum, and the urgent importance of establishing a national ecosystem and programme for Quantum Computer Engineering in Ireland, as well as EU and global co-operation.
Attendees at the launch also heard from Prof J.C. Seamus Davis from University College Cork and Oxford University, who leads a pioneering Irish-UK Quantum Research programme, and from Professor Tommaso Calarco, chair, European Quantum Community Network on the importance of Quantum for Europe and the practical realisation of Quantum technologies.
Other contributors included the IDA, mBryonics, MIDAS the Industry Association for Microelectronics and Electronic Systems Design in Ireland, SFI, ICHEC the Irish Centre for High-End Computing, and Analog Devices Ireland.
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