QSolid - towards the first German Quantum Computer
Jülich, March 9, 2022
QSolid is a joint project aiming to construct a complete Quantum Computer, based on cutting-edge technology from Germany. It has a budget of 76,3 million euros for the next five years. The project has now started and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The focus is on high quality quantum bits, or qubits for short, with a low error rate. The Quantum Computer is to be integrated into the supercomputer infrastructure at Forschungszentrum Jülich at an early stage and will have several next-generation superconducting quantum processors. This includes a "moonshot" system that has been shown to be superior to classical computers in terms of computing power. A first demonstrator is expected to be operational from mid-2024, enabling tests of applications and benchmarks for industry standards.
Quantum Computers promise breakthroughs in many fields, such as materials and drug development, and in the optimization of traffic control. In the future, they could be far superior to conventional supercomputers for certain tasks. However, the technology is still in its infancy. The development of a practical Quantum Computer involves enormous challenges, but also offers the opportunity to set industrial standards at an early stage and secure intellectual property rights.
Industrial applications in view
To prepare for commercialization, 25 leading German companies and research institutions have joined forces in the QSolid joint project. The research consortium is the largest of its kind in Germany and is coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich. Together, the partners want to develop a comprehensive ecosystem for a demonstrator based on superconducting qubits: It will be made available to external users via the Jülich Quantum Computer Infrastructure JUNIQ and tailored to their needs.
Quantum Computer with diverse processors
The envisioned system contains diverse quantum processors based on next-generation superconducting circuits with reduced error rates. The approach is considered a world leader and is also being pursued by Google, IBM and Intel, among others. The multiprocessor machine at Forschungszentrum Jülich will run at least three different quantum chips in parallel: a "moonshot system" with computing power exceeding that of classical supercomputers, an application-specific designed system that is already suitable for industrially useful quantum computations, and a benchmarking platform that is primarily focused on the development of digital twins and industrial standards.
Focus on qubit quality
"The focus is on improving the quality of quantum bits, which we are driving forward at all levels in QSolid," explains project coordinator Prof. Frank Wilhelm-Mauch from Forschungszentrum Jülich. The error-proneness of qubits is considered a sticking point in Quantum Computer development. The quantum states used to store quantum information are extremely sensitive to external influences. They are often disturbed before all computing operations have been completed.
"The optimizations we have in mind start with particularly low-fault next-generation superconducting circuits, which we want to achieve through high-precision manufacturing methods and new material systems, among other things. But also crucial are the optimal control of quantum bits as well as state-of-the-art error avoidance methods using artificial intelligence (AI) at the firmware level, where we want to set new standards with QSolid," explains Frank Wilhelm-Mauch.
Network of research institutions
To achieve the major goal of an independent Quantum Computer made in Germany, QSolid brings together research institutions, companies and startups from Germany. Seven institute departments of the Jülich Peter Grünberg Institute contribute their expertise to the project, in addition to the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) as well as the Central Institute for Engineering, Electronics and Analytics (ZEA-2) and the spin-off Qruise of Forschungszentrum Jülich, which also play important roles. Valuable expertise is contributed by other research partners, including the Fraunhofer Institutes IPMS and ASSID IZM, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Leibniz-IHPT in Jena, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, the CiS Research Institute for Microsensors, and the universities in Ulm, Stuttgart, Berlin (FU Berlin), Constance, Cologne and Düsseldorf.
Building a national supply chain
Numerous manufacturers and startups are participating in building a national development and supply chain. ParityQC, HQS, Rosenberger HF-Technik, IQM, supracon, ParTec, Racyics, AdMOS, LPKF Laser & Electronics, Atotech, Atos science+computing ag, Globalfoundries and Zurich Instruments Germany are involved as project partners. Thus, they are given the opportunity to set initial industrial standards and tap into utilization potential at an early stage.
Quantum infrastructure at Forschungszentrum Jülich
In building the superconducting quantum architecture, QSolid benefits from the experience of Prof. Rami Barends, among others, who moved from Google's research team to Forschungszentrum Jülich last fall. Much of the manufacturing of the next-generation quantum processors will take place at the Helmholtz Nano Facility at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The Helmholtz Association's 1,000-square-meter clean-room complex is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for the fabrication and characterization of quantum devices. By 2025, this will be complemented by the Helmholtz Quantum Center (HQC), a laboratory infrastructure specifically designed for quantum computing.
First systems from 2024
The first precursors of the planned demonstrators in QSolid will be produced at the Leibniz IHPT in Jena and are expected as early as 2024. The IHPT already has an existing production line for superconducting circuits. It will be expanded into a pilot line for superconducting quantum circuits as part of the project.
Important preliminary work to achieve the project goals has already been done. Results from the European flagship project OpenSuperQ as well as the collaborative projects DAQC and GeQcos will be incorporated into the work of QSolid.
Project description QSolid
QSolid (Quantum computer in the solid state)
January 2022 - December 2026
76,3 million € (of which 89,8 % are funded by the BMBF)
Forschungszentrum Jülich, Prof. Dr. Frank Wilhelm-Mauch
Participating institutes and institute divisions at Forschungszentrum Jülich:
Peter Grünberg Institute, Institute for Quantum Computing Analytics (PGI-12).
Peter Grünberg Institute, Theoretical Nanoelectronics (PGI-2 / IAS-3)
Peter Grünberg Institute, Quantum Control (PGI-8)
Peter Grünberg Institute, JARA Institute Quantum Information (PGI-11)
Peter Grünberg Institute, Institute for Functional Quantum Systems (PGI-13)
Peter Grünberg Institute, Quantum Nanoscience (PGI-3)
Peter Grünberg Institute, Semiconductor Nanoelectronics (PGI-9)
Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC)
Central Institute for Engineering, Electronics and Analytics, Systems of Electronics (ZEA-2)
BMBF Framework Program "Quantum Technologies - From the Basics to the Market"
The QSolid project is part of the framework program "Quantum Technologies - from Fundamentals to Market". The framework program bundles the goals of the German Federal Government in connection with the development of quantum technologies under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF):
1. expand the research landscape of quantum technologies
2. create research networks for new applications
3. establish lighthouse projects for industrial competitiveness
4. guarantee security and technological sovereignty
5. shape international cooperation
6. involve the people in Germany
The aim is to transfer quantum technology to industrial applications. The Federal Government is providing the BMBF with more than one million euros for this task. The German government is providing the BMBF with more than one billion euros for this task. For more information:
Prof. Dr. Frank Wilhelm-Mauch
Peter Grünberg Institut, Institute for Quantum Computing Analytics (PGI-12)
Tel.: +49 2461 61-6106
Tel.: +49 2461 61-4771
Note: In an earlier version of the text, the project budget in the first paragraph was confused with the funding amount (the BMBF's funding share is 89.8%). We have corrected the error.