Bridging the gap between academic research and industrial applications of quantum computing through the Quantum Application Lab

22 Oct 2021 - 4 min

While still at the beginning stages, the Quantum Application Lab’s (QAL) potential continues to be explored, and sectors like pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industry, finance, and the energy and power industry stand to benefit from this.  

Group photo

On 13 October, six partners, including the Netherlands eScience Center, gathered together at the Centrum voor Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) building in Amsterdam to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch the Quantum Application Lab. What does this mean for academic research? In this public-private partnership, researchers will help solve some of our most pressing societal challenges in the area of health care, energy, technology and security. In short-form, it’s a kind of a big deal.  

“We are grateful to be asked to collaborate and contribute to the development of quantum computing applications and to support the QAL with our research software engineering expertise,” said Dr. Nicolas Renaud, Section Head, Natural Sciences and Engineering at the eScience Center. “Initiatives like these provides us with the opportunity to explore the use of quantum computing for applied science in a wide range of domains to understand the capabilities and restrictions of quantum computing.”  

The Quantum Application Lab will fulfill the much-needed connection between scientific developments of quantum hardware and software and demand-driven solutions, for e.g. optimization, simulation and machine learning. It will also identify promising domains for quantum computing applications and execute projects together with scientific, industrial and/or private sector partners. 

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the six partners of the Quantum Application Lab (QAL): University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Netherlands Organization for applied scientific research (TNO), the national research institute for mathematics and computer science (CWI), the Dutch collaborative ICT Organization for Dutch higher education and research (SURF), TU Delft (on behalf of QuTech and Quantum Inspire) and the Netherlands eScience Center.

Multiple partners signing a Memorandum of Understanding
From left to right: Prof. dr. Ton de Kok (CWI), Dr. Axel Berg (SURF), Prof. dr. Peter Werkhoven (Chief Science Officer at TNO),Prof. dr. Karen Maex (Rector Magnificus at UvA), Prof. dr. Joris van Eijnatten (CEO at eScience Center), and Dr. Kees Eijkel (Director of Business Development at TU Delft).

“It’s important to develop high quality software so that researchers can explore the potential of quantum computers for their own applications,” said Dr. Renaud. “It’s also important to train the future quantum computing software engineers in best practices for software engineering. Congratulations to all those involved, and we look forward, as part of the QAL partnership, to help advance quantum computing for years to come.” 

This initiative is particularly exciting as the eScience Center is already running a similar project, Quantum Computing for Radioastronomy, as part of the annual Young eScientist Award. In this explorative project, the eScience Center and Chris Broekema from ASTRON together explore the possibility that quantum computing offers for the design of future large-scale radio-telescopes such as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA)

For more information about the Quantum Application Lab, click here.

To learn about some of the incredible multi-disciplinary projects we work on at the eScience Center, take a look at our current portfolio and/or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.