A new artificial intelligence and quantum computing centre has been launched in North West England, as a result of a £210 million investment from the Government and IBM to help cement the UK’s status as a science superpower.
The Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) – based at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory in the Liverpool City Region – will create vacancies for an additional 60 scientists and opportunities for students to gain invaluable hands-on experience.
The centre – a partnership between STFC and IBM – will bring together expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing to support the application of the cutting-edge technologies in industry and the public sector.
Possible industry applications of quantum computing include optimising complex logistics such as picking and packing orders in large warehouses for supermarkets; traffic routing; energy distribution; improving design and manufacturing processes across automotive sectors.
The government will invest £172 million over five years through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with an additional £38 million being invested by IBM. £28 million of the government’s investment will be in the first year.
The HNCDI will make cutting-edge technologies like AI and quantum computing more accessible to businesses and public sector organisations.
As well as breaking down practical barriers to using new technologies, for example by providing access to equipment and infrastructure, the team of experts at HNCDI will also provide training and support to make sure the UK is at the forefront of the next generation of computing.
The technologies that have transformed our lives – the building blocks of modern computers, the mobile phone, the laser, the MRI scanner – are all products of quantum science. This involves harnessing the unique ways that light and matter behave at tiny atomic or subatomic levels.
A new generation of quantum technologies exploit breakthroughs in the way that we are able to precisely manipulate and measure these special properties, to engineer quantum devices – like sensors and computers – with dramatically enhanced functionality and performance.
The centre will work across sectors including materials, life sciences, environment and manufacturing. This will include collaboration with academic and industrial research communities, including start-ups and SMEs, public sector, and government.