ICHEC joins Next Applications of Quantum Computing Project bringing Ireland into €1B EU Quantum Flagship Initiative

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing is commencing work on a 4-year €4.67m EU Quantum Flagship project called NEASQC (NExt ApplicationS of Quantum Computing) along with 11 other European companies and research labs.

This move formalises Ireland’s representation in the European Quantum Flagship Initiative a €1b EU flagship programme aimed at consolidating and expanding European scientific and commercial capability in Quantum Technologies.

As part of NEASQC, ICHEC will lead the work package to develop AI-related quantum computing use-cases. ICHEC will develop quantum natural language processing (QNLP) capabilities with Tilde Language Services (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia). ICHEC’s work on QNLP in NEASQC will carry forward and advance its previous work on the topic that was developed in collaboration with Intel Corporation in a 14-month-long project in 2019-2020. The objective of this research was to compare sentence meanings using a hybrid classical-quantum method for a chosen body of text to demonstrate similarity of the sentences based on distributional-compositional semantics. The results were published in the Institute of Physics Machine Learning: Science and Technology  journal with the open-source QNLP software toolkit available to the community on GitHub (github.com/ICHEC/QNLP).

ICHEC also works with Total Oil (France) and HQS Quantum Simulations (Germany) on quantum chemistry for efficient CO2 capture.

Commenting, Dr Venkatesh Kannan, Centre Technical Manager, ICHEC said

“It is of great significance for Ireland and ICHEC to actively work in the EU Quantum Flagship programme which develops cutting-edge quantum technologies and solutions. In particular, the NEASQC project is important for European and global quantum computing since it has been selected by the European Commission to develop quantum algorithms and software for solving problems and applications that are expected to demonstrate quantum advantage."

Co-ordinated by Atos (Bull SAS), a leading European company with global activities in High Performance Computing and Quantum Computing, the NEASQC project will investigate a large selection of NISQ (Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum) compatible industrial and financial quantum computing applications and develop open-source software libraries to facilitate quantum computing experimentation for new users.

The ultimate ambition of NEASQC is to encourage European user communities to investigate NISQ quantum computing. For this purpose, the project consortium will define and make available a complete and common toolset that new industrial actors can use to start their own practical investigation and share their results.” explained Cyril Allouche, Fellow VP, Head of the Atos Quantum R&D Program at Atos, and coordinator of the NEASQC project.

NEASQC is use-case driven, addressing practical problems such as drug discovery, CO2 capture, energy management, natural language processing, breast cancer detection, probabilistic risk assessment for energy infrastructures, or hydrocarbon well optimisation. NEASQC aims to initiate an active European community around NISQ Quantum Computing by providing a common toolset that will attract new industrial users.

The NEASQC project brings together academic experts and industrial end-users to investigate and develop a new breed of Quantum-enabled applications that can take advantage of NISQ systems in the near future. The NEASQC project is run by a European consortium that includes:

  • Atos (Bull SAS), the European number one in High Performance Computing and initiator of the first quantum computing industry program in Europe (coordinator, France) 
  • AstraZeneca AB, the global, science-led biopharmaceutical company (Sweden)
  • CESGA (Fundación Publica Gallega Centro Tecnológico de Supercomputación de Galicia), , a major Spanish public HPC centre (Spain)
  • Electricité de France (EDF), the world leader in low-carbon energies (France)
  • HQS Quantum Simulations GmbH, an SME - spinoff of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – that develops software for quantum mechanical material simulations (Germany)
  • HSBC Bank Plc, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations (United Kingdom)
  • Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), the national HPC centre in Ireland
  • Leiden University, through its Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science that owns a renowned expertise in quantum computing algorithmics, quantum machine learning and high-performance computing (Netherlands)
  • TILDE SIA, an SME that is a European leader in language technology (Latvia)
  • TOTAL S.A., the multinational energy company (France)
  • Universidade da Coruña, a Galician public university with expertise in mathematical finance and symbolic artificial intelligence (Spain)
  • Université de Lorraine, through the LORIA lab (France)

NEASQC is one of the projects selected within the second wave of EU Quantum Flagship projects. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 951821.