15 Jun 2024

Leading businesses showcase the potential for quantum computers

Digital Catapult

Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, is supporting eleven organisations across the UK to investigate how quantum computing could benefit key industrial sectors, such as energy, infrastructure, and engineering.

The Quantum Technology Access Programme (QTAP) assists companies in trialling novel use cases, to demonstrate the potential for quantum technology to transform critical parts of the UK economy. The programme results will soon be shared with broader industry to promote a deeper understanding of quantum’s commercial applications.

Marking a paradigm shift for the participants, the programme’s focus extends beyond theoretical understandings of quantum technology, to successfully investigate illustrations of real-world business applications for leading corporations including ArupAirbus and the Port of Dover. These industrial applications range from Frazer Nash demonstrating the potential of quantum computers to optimise the UK energy grid to meet demand for electricity, to Tees-Valley-based SeerBI building a quantum machine learning model to predict shipments that were at risk of late arrival.

Rolls-Royce aims to build small, autonomous nuclear reactors that could operate safely in remote mining colonies, the moon and on Mars. During the programme, the company used data from the Fukushima nuclear event to investigate the feasibility of a quantum machine learning model to quickly identify potentially hazardous situations; enabling the reactor to operate safely and be shut down if necessary, with minimum human involvement.

Delivered in partnership with Riverlane and ORCA Computing, QTAP provides participating companies with access to the ORCA PT-1 quantum photonic computer, a team of quantum experts and ongoing technical support, establishing a first-of-its-kind commercially neutral ecosystem for businesses interested in quantum technology. Paving the way for ongoing industrial collaboration and knowledge-sharing between the participating companies, Digital Catapult’s programme exemplifies the value of a community committed to exploring industrial applications of quantum, as the technology evolves.

Digital Catapult and partners supported triaging and framing relevant use cases, delivering education and training on theoretical and practical aspects of quantum computing and providing ongoing technological assistance, as well as enabling opportunities for knowledge sharing between participants. This has increased the quantum readiness of leading UK companies and SMEs, such as Oxford SigmaNeptune New Space and UKAEA, empowering them to embrace quantum technology, as new use cases emerge and capabilities increase.

The programme has three streams: two on optimisation and quantum machine learning with ORCA Computing, involving simulating and running small-scale industrial challenges on the ORCA PT-1 quantum computer. The fault-tolerant stream, delivered with Riverlane, investigates the Quantum Singular Value Transformation, an algorithm that will run on the large, fault-tolerant quantum computers available in the future.

During a demonstration day, participating companies including DNV Services UK Ltd, and Bahut tested their challenge on the ORCA PT-1 quantum computer, as part of the optimisation stream. The quantum computer successfully solved industrial problems, demonstrating the potential to solve more complex and sophisticated challenges in the future.

Company info: Digital Catapault