New quantum computer center for Aargau

The Paul Scherrer Institute and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) are jointly founding a quantum computer center in Villigen. Here, around 30 researchers will be working on the computers of tomorrow. ETH is investing 32 million Swiss francs in the project.

quantum computer center
Christian Rüegg (left), director of the Paul Scherrer Institute, and Gabriel Aeppli, head of the Photon Science Division at PSI, were instrumental in the creation of the just opened Quantum Computing Hub. Image Credit: Paul Scherrer Institute/Markus Fischer

The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) are co-founding the Quantum Computing Hub. This will be located on the PSI Campus in Villigen in the canton of Aargau. An existing building is being converted and renovated for this purpose. According to a press release, ETH is investing 32 million Swiss francs in this project.

Up to 30 researchers will work at the new center. Their aim will be to develop quantum computers on the basis of both ion traps and superconductive components. “What is special about the Quantum Computing Hub is that these two technologies are explored in the same laboratory”, explains ETH Professor Andreas Wallraff, who will head up the center together with his colleague Jonathan Home. The hardware of the quantum computers differs in these two technologies, although Wallraff has identified potential synergies in the development of operating systems.

ETH researchers currently operate quantum computers with up to 17 quantum bits, otherwise known as qubits. In order to unleash the full potential of quantum computing, however, devices with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of qubits will be needed. In a first step, the center in Villigen will seek to develop a quantum computer with more than 100 qubits.

Christian Rüegg, Director of PSI, explains in an interview published on the PSI website: “In a few years we want to be able to say: In the canton of Aargau, there is an experimental quantum computer”. This quantum computer will “offer the scientific community in Switzerland unique opportunities to conduct joint research in the field of quantum computing as well as in its applications”, Rüegg adds.

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