Quantum technology and quantum computing hold enormous potential for research and business in a wide variety of fields and economic sectors. At Amsterdam Science Park, several organisations play an important role in their further development. They come together in several dedicated institutes and hubs such as QuSoft, Quantum.Amsterdam and the Quantum Application Lab. In addition, the Netherlands as a whole is a leading centre for the development of quantum hardware and the accompanying algorithms and applications – a position that’s underlined by the government’s National Agenda for Quantum Technology.
Because of the ability of quantum computers to solve much more complex problems than classical computers – even supercomputers – they have the potential to make major contributions to a vast number of fields and across all economic sectors. Creating better algorithms for optimisation problems, for example, can have many useful applications in business. A quantum computer that can simulate the behaviour of molecules can help develop new medicines, better batteries, healthier food and more efficient fertiliser. Quantum computing can be crucial for the development of new materials and sensors. And quantum cryptography can mean giant leaps in information security.
For research, quantum computing is significant because its study has led to a better understanding of the fundamentals of computing as well as physics. In addition, one of the expected applications of quantum computers is the creation of efficient algorithms to simulate quantum mechanics systems – which could have wide-ranging impacts in academic as well as industrial research.
Some of the earliest work on the theoretical computer science aspects of quantum computing took place at CWI at Amsterdam Science Park, and so it is fitting that the Park is now home to QuSoft, a research institute dedicated to developing quantum software. It was founded in 2015 as a joint initiative of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and CWI. But there’s yet another advantage of the Science Park for those working on quantum technology and computing. Quantum computing is a fundamentally interdisciplinary field, requiring knowledge of physics, computer science and mathematics, as well as expertise in additional fields – for example, research is being conducted on the legal implications. This makes the Science Park, with its presence of many experts from different backgrounds and strong focus on cross-sector partnerships, a natural home for it. Some experts have positions at several organisations – for example, researchers from the UvA’s theoretical physics department also work at QuSoft –, further encouraging collaboration.
The presence of the UvA’s Faculty of Sciences and the Vrije Universiteit also adds a focus on education in this emerging field. New programmes have been set up, including the UvA’s QuSoft Master’s Certificate for MSc students. The CWI’s outstanding international reputation allows it to attract the best students internationally.
Several partnerships further advance the field of quantum computing at Amsterdam Science Park. Businesses and other organisations can approach the Quantum Application Lab (QAL) to explore the advantages of quantum computing. The QAL is a public-private R&D partnership that offers a platform featuring a team of scientists, researchers, engineers, application developers, and software and hardware specialists. Organisations wanting to find out how quantum computing can benefit their operations are invited to connect to the lab and make use of its expertise and technical infrastructure. The six QAL partners are the UvA, the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), CWI, SURF, TU Delft (on behalf of QuTech and Quantum Inspire) and the Netherlands eScience Center.
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The quantum innovation hub Quantum.Amsterdam, located at the Science Park’s Startup Village and established by the UvA, CWI and QuSoft, is one of the five innovation hubs of the national public-private foundation Quantum Delta NL. It aims to boost quantum research and development in the Amsterdam ecosystem. Working with research institutes, companies and the City, Quantum.Amsterdam acts as liaison to the national activities in the field, connecting academia, industry and society in the Amsterdam Area.
The Amsterdam Science Park has sparked numerous partnerships between industry and academia, and knowledge is regularly shared between researchers, innovative startups and established businesses. One of these recent collaborations was a two-year programme of Bosch and QuSoft, in which researchers investigated potential quantum computing use cases at Bosch, with a focus on applications in engineering and AI/machine learning.
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“The connection with the university is very important for our research”
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