A new age of supercomputer technology capable of helping to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems is set for take off in the Greater Brighton region.

A consortium led by a venture by University of Sussex scientists to create the first fully scalable quantum computer has received a £7.5m grant from the government and has now found new headquarters in the region to continue its research.

Greater Brighton leaders hope it could lead to a ‘Quantum Valley’ cluster of cutting edge tech business in the region in the same way Silicon Valley was created via a tech boom in California last century.

The money is coming from Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to build a scalable quantum computer that can correct its own errors and apply this technology to high-impact problems initially in the aerospace industry

The consortium led by the University of Sussex spin-out, Universal Quantum, will tackle a major challenge in making quantum computers commercially viable, correcting the errors that quantum bits – qubits – are prone to. It will bring together quantum experts with world-class engineers and UK businesses, creating a new quantum ecosystem for the UK and boosting the burgeoning quantum tech cluster in Greater Brighton.

The consortium comprises sector leaders covering key areas of quantum computing development. Aside from Universal Quantum, it includes world-class academic groups from the University of Sussex and Imperial College London, end-user Rolls-Royce, supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, quantum software developer Riverlane, supply chain partners Edwards, TMD Technologies and Diamond Microwave, and commercialisation and dissemination experts Sia Partners and Qureca.

Universal Quantum is also establishing a laboratory in Haywards Heath after Mid Sussex District Council gave the go-ahead for premises on the Mill Green Business Estate to be converted for research and development purposes.

Universal Quantum has also received multi-million pound investment from private and government sources and is competing against the world’s tech giants such as Microsoft, Google and IBM, to deliver a machine that solves problems beyond the limitations of current supercomputers.

Quantum computers could help solve complex problems in everything from medicine to climate change, uncovering new drug discoveries and developing new technologies – effectively addressing problems that would take today’s fastest supercomputers billions of years to solve.

The firm wants to employ around 100 people at its new premises including electronic engineers to physicists, software engineers and operations experts. Its broader vision for the region is to help establish a quantum computing ecosystem with the co-location of relevant businesses.

Professor Winfried Hensinger, co-founder and Chief Scientist at Universal Quantum, said:

“True innovation is a complex and delicate phenomenon – much like the quantum machines we’re creating – but I’m confident that the Greater Brighton region is rapidly establishing itself as a hub of expertise, knowledge and skills not just in quantum computing but across the wider technology landscape. It’s a great time to be working in quantum computing, and the Greater Brighton region is the perfect place to set up our headquarters and realise our ambitions. Our broader vision for the region is to help establish a quantum computing ecosystem with the co-location of relevant businesses towards establishing a ‘Greater Brighton Quantum City’.”

Dr. Sebastian Weidt, co-founder and CEO at Universal Quantum, said:

“Error correction is crucial to achieve anything really useful with quantum computers, so we are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant. This project is an important step forward, helping us to go from today’s proof of principle machines to scalable quantum computers that can solve some of the world’s most pressing computational challenges.

At Universal Quantum, we’re building quantum computers to tackle real-world problems and we’re delighted to make the next step in this journey in the Greater Brighton region, where we will build both our new headquarters and quantum computing research facilities.”

Quantum computing still faces many technical challenges before it is perfected but the scientists, working at the University of Sussex, have developed a new blueprint for the process which uses microwave technology used in mobile phones instead of lasers. This has attracted private investors who believe it might be the best hope of building practical quantum computers that will change the way we live and work.

About Universal Quantum:

  • Universal Quantum is building the world’s first million qubit quantum computer. Why? Because to unlock the full potential of quantum computing and change the world for the better, we need to reach the million-qubit scale.
  • Universal Quantum has focused on creating a million-qubit quantum computer from day one. Its unique, electronic quantum computing modules are based on silicon technology where individual modules are connected using ultrafast electric field links to form an architecture that scales.
  • For Universal Quantum, it’s one million qubits or nothing. From medicine to material science and much more, our work will transform the world.
  • Universal Quantum is backed by top VCs, has 15+ years of quantum computing experience and is a proud member of the Tech Talent Charter.

For more information, please visit the Universal Quantum website

Universal Quantum - Founders Dr Sebastian Weidt (left) and Prof Winfried Hensinger (right), working on mild cooling technology, designing circuitry and Quantum Technology

Photos: Universal Quantum Founders Dr Sebastian Weidt (left) and Prof Winfried Hensinger (right); working on mild cooling technology; designing circuitry and Quantum Technology (credit Universal Quantum and University of Sussex)