Atos and the CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) has launched an industrial research chair to innovate and do research on quantum computing.
Co-funded by the National Research Agency (ANR) and led by Daniel Estève, the industrial research chair, named “Nasniq” (New nuclear spin architecture for quantum computing), aims to contribute to the development of the quantum computer revolutionizing on how information is processed in the years ahead and can manage the explosion of data driven by Big Data and the Internet of Things.
Quantum technologies represent a key factor for sovereignty which now requires a major effort in terms of research and development, bringing together academic teams and businesses.
To address this, Atos and the CEA-CNRS, with the support of the National Research Agency (ANR), will work in synergy and will contribute their expertise to this initiative.
Atos will bring its expertise in high-performance computing and quantum computing to the industrial research chair. Indeed in 2016 Atos launched “Atos Quantum”, an ambitious quantum computing program that has already enabled it to bring to market, as of July 2017, the “Atos Quantum Learning Machine” (Atos QLM), the world’s first machine capable of simulating up to 40 quantum bits and which now simulates physical Qubits for increased performance.
Daniel Estève and the “Quantronic “group, from the Condensed State Physics Department (Spec, CEA-CNRS, Paris-Saclay), are pioneers in the knowledge and control of quantum information. This group founded the so-called Cooper pair box circuit that has led to superconducting quantum bits which are used today.
The Nasniq research chair will combine the essential research efforts carried out by the Spec team (CEA-CNRS) with Atos’ developments in algorithmic simulation, further reinforcing the synergies between all the activities of the CEA in this field. In addition, the chair will allow to monitor technological developments in the appropriation of this innovative field.
“This research chair marks an important milestone in the emergence of a French quantum computing industry. In a context in which quantum technologies are becoming a real global issue, it allows us to position Atos and the CEA, two leading French actors, as European leaders in quantum computing. Together we are involved in making France a major research center in quantum computing in the world,” said Thierry Breton, Chairman and CEO, Atos.
“International competition has accelerated dramatically in recent months in the field of quantum computing. The Nasniq chair is the opportunity for the CEA and Atos to extend their already existing partnership in the field of high performance computing in quantum computing. It will also allow us to position our teams more favourably in future European calls on quantum engineering, within the framework of the European Commission’s flagship Quantum Technologies or the 9th Framework Programme”, said François Jacq, General Manager of the CEA.
A Basic and Applied R&D program
The Nasniq chair must address several challenges:
- Design and test new types of qubits and better control quantum coherence: Spec teams are working to control quantum coherence by developing more robust quantum bits;
- Quantum software for hybrid qubits: Atos will provide its expertise in quantum software and algorithms, as well as in numerical simulation, for the development of new software relevant for qubits carried by a nuclear spin;
- By strengthening the interaction between research teams and industrial teams, the Nasniq chair will also be able to train future engineers and researchers in the field.