CERN Quantum Technology Initiative: towards a quantum revolution

CERN Quantum Technology Initiative has reached a significant milestone, launching a roadmap of its medium- and long-term quantum research programme.

The CERN Quantum Technology Initiative (CERN QTI) has achieved an important milestone with the announcement of a roadmap defining its quantum research programme.

Roadmap for quantum research

The roadmap outlines CERN QTI objectives and strategy, identifying the governing structure and composition of its international advisory board, on top of the activities to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and innovation with the particle physics community and beyond in the extensive field of quantum technologies.

Through the CERN Quantum Technology Initiative, CERN is distributing its enabling technologies – such as quantum state sensors, time synchronisation protocols, and many more from the cryogenics, electronics, quantum theory and computing domains – to enhance the development of quantum technologies.

Towards the next quantum revolution

Contemporary information and communication technology flourished out of the knowledge and development of quantum mechanics over the last century. CERN QTI will see the CERN community play a vital role in a global endeavour to inspire the “next quantum revolution” – wherein counterintuitive phenomena such as superposition and entanglement are utilised to construct new computing, communication, and sensing and simulation devices.

“As an international, open and neutral platform, and building on its collaborative culture and proven track record of innovation, CERN is uniquely positioned to act as an “honest broker” between CERN Member States and to foster innovative ideas in the field of high-energy physics and beyond,” commented Professor Joachim Mnich, CERN Director for Research and Computing. “This is underpinned by several concrete R&D projects that are already underway at CERN.”

CERN advisory board

Comprised of leading international experts nominated by the 23 CERN Member States, the recently formed advisory board contributed to the novel roadmap.

“The roadmap builds on high-quality research projects already ongoing at CERN, with top-level collaborations, to advance a vision and concrete steps to explore the potential of quantum information science and technologies for high-energy physics,” explained Kerstin Borras and Yasser Omar, co-chairs of the CERN QTI advisory board, in a statement unanimously approved by the board members.

“CERN can play a key role as a facilitator of cross-disciplinary discussions about the role of quantum technologies in science, advancing the development of use cases and enabling technologies, promoting co-development, as well as being a key early-adopter of quantum technologies. The members of the advisory board will promote the collaboration between the quantum technologies and the high-energy physics communities in their respective countries, with CERN and its roadmap being a very important forum and instrument to develop fruitful cross-fertilisation.”

The advisory board will work alongside the CERN Quantum Technology Initiative management team to lead the activities and generate as many synergies as possible with national and international initiatives associated with quantum technologies.

Collaborative projects

A year after its launch, CERN QTI has set up partnerships and projects to discover how quantum technologies can assist high-energy physics and beyond in four core quantum research areas: quantum computing and algorithms; quantum theory and simulation; quantum sensing, metrology, and materials; and quantum communication and networks.

The latest projects cover multiple research topics and target applications, including quantum graph neural networks for track reconstruction, quantum support vector machines for particle classification, quantum anomaly detection for beyond the Standard Model searches, quantum generative adversarial networks for physics simulation, new sensors and materials for future detectors, and secure quantum key distribution protocols for distributed data analysis.

Educating next-generation scientists

Training and education are also at the centre of CERN QTI. Expanding on the triumph of its first online course on quantum computing, CERN QTI will be extending its academia-industry training programme to stimulate the process of nurturing proficiencies across numerous R&D and engineering activities for the new generation of scientists, from high-school students to senior researchers.

“CERN has demonstrated excellence in scientific research for many years and has fostered great innovation in computing technologies. Building on its unique expertise and strong collaborative culture, CERN is in a distinctive position today to foster quantum developments in the European high-energy physics community and beyond,” added Alberto Di Meglio, Coordinator of the CERN Quantum Technology Initiative.

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