A quantum leap: Count on Czechia’s first quantum computer operating in Ostrava next year

The computer will be capable of solving problems far beyond the capabilities of standard supercomputers.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 29.06.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 28.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czechia is getting its first quantum computer. It will be installed at IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center in Ostrava in 2024 and will be available to the European research community.

A hosting agreement signed was just signed in Luxembourg between the center, which is part of the VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, and the European LUMI-Q consortium, which will set up and operate the computer. The finalizing of the agreement confirms the preliminary announcement made in October.

The procurement process for the quantum computer will be managed directly by the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), a partnership that brings together technological resources in EU member states.

The investment costs for the procurement of the quantum computer will reach a maximum of EUR 7 million (around CZK 166 million), which will be split between the EuroHPC JU and the member countries of the LUMI-Q consortium.

The LUMI-Q consortium brings together nine European countries: Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.

A giant leap for Czech science

“Signing the agreement to host the LUMI-Q quantum computer in the Czech Republic is an important milestone not only for the Czech research community in the field of quantum computers and algorithms, but also represents a significant step towards developing European quantum computing resources,” Vít Vondrák, managing director of IT4Innovations, said in a press release from this week.

“Together with other European partners, we are creating an important element of future scientific progress in quantum computing and its applications,” he added.

The computer is expected to lead to breakthroughs in many fields of science and industry.

“I believe that we will be able to create a cutting-edge ecosystem for quantum computing, where the latest quantum technologies will be integrated into the existing European supercomputing infrastructure, which can lead to significant breakthroughs in the future from the convergence of these two fields,” Vondrák said when the agreement was first announced.

The computer is capable of executing very complex quantum algorithms. This quantum computer will be directly connected to a supercomputer in Ostrava and ones in other locations, such as the most powerful European supercomputer LUMI in Kajaani, Finland, and the supercomputer Helios, which will be located in Kraków, Poland.

Branislav Jansík, supercomputing services director at IT4Innovations and the LUMI-Q consortium coordinator, said the Czech scientific community and all consortium members would gain access to the quantum computer. “Finally, our goal is to make quantum computing available to industrial companies,” Jansík added.

He added that the LUMI-Q consortium is committed to providing the scientific community with a quantum computer capable of pushing the boundaries of modern science.

A whole new approach to computing

Quantum computers have the potential to bring a new approach to computing and solving extremely complex problems. Unlike classical computers that work with binary bits, quantum computers use quantum bits (qubits) to perform parallel computations and manipulate quantum phenomena such as superposition and quantum entanglement.

This gives them the ability to efficiently solve some problems that are too difficult for classical computers efficiently. These may include optimization problems for solving the electronic structure of new materials or traffic and port management logistics, the press release stated.

Several other applications are currently being developed and can be found in almost all scientific and computational domains, such as the automotive industry, the development of new electric batteries, energy, finance, pharmaceutics, quantum chemistry, cryptography, and quantum machine learning.  

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