10. November 2021
DLR's Quantum Computing Initiative

Call for pro­pos­als to de­sign quan­tum pro­ces­sors based on ion trap tech­nol­o­gy

Futuristic technology with qubits
Fu­tur­is­tic tech­nol­o­gy with qubits
Credit: © Production Perig / AdobeStock

Futuristic technology with qubits

Quan­tum com­put­ers work with qubits, which fol­low the laws of quan­tum physics. This paves the way for new al­go­rithms that are not pos­si­ble on con­ven­tion­al com­put­ers. The bits of con­ven­tion­al com­put­ers recog­nise on­ly two states: 0 and 1. Qubits, in con­trast, can have an in­fi­nite num­ber of in­ter­me­di­ate val­ues.

As part of DLR's Quantum Computing Initiative, prototypes of quantum computers based on various architectures are to be built within the next four years. Through this process, DLR is inviting companies, startups and other research institutions to collectively drive the development of hardware, software and applications for quantum computers. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has provided DLR with the necessary resources to develop this consortium. For this purpose, DLR plans to award a number of contracts in the field of quantum computing to companies and research institutions through a competitive procedure. During this process, the necessary competencies are determined, from research and development to finding innovative fields of quantum computing applications. DLR will use this to contribute to its own facilities and solve issues in its research and development through its newly established Institutes for Quantum Technologies in Ulm and for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensor Technology in Hanover, among others.

A promising approach for quantum computing technology is the development of qubits based on ion traps. The goal of this outreach is to procure ion quantum processor prototypes. The successive development of various systems with increasing numbers of qubits will be carried out through several phases. The bidding cycle consists of three parts, known as lots, for a total project duration of four years. Lot 1 will focus on the construction and operation of a sample system, to be made available to users as soon as it is completed. Lot 2 involves the construction of a prototype quantum computer with 50 or more fully functional qubits on a chip that is scalable, error-correctable in perspective, and capable of executing algorithms with high user-friendliness. Lot 3 of the project is designated for the construction of a modular, scalable quantum computer. Multiple chips will eventually be combined in a network to build a general-purpose quantum computer architecture with the ability to scale to systems of over 100 qubits. Each module will be fully characterised and will be its own small quantum processor.

The deadline for submission is 6 December 2021.

Call for proposal

  • Robert Axmann
    Head Quan­tum Com­put­ing Ini­tia­tive
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Ex­ec­u­tive Board Projects and Quan­tum Com­put­ing Ini­tia­tive
    Hansestraße 115
    51149 Cologne
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