Updates and progress of the QSolid project

ParityQC is part of a number of joint projects focused on the advancement of quantum computing – in Austria, Germany and the EU at large. With the new series of articles “Quantum Ecosystem” we want to give you some fresh insights on the work we’re doing in these consortia. 

About QSolid: one of the biggest and most significant quantum computing joint projects in Germany

Germany has long been at the forefront of quantum computing efforts globally, demonstrating a commitment to the research and development of this transformative technology. The German research landscape, with its many renowned universities, research institutes, and deep-tech companies, offers a fertile ground for developments in this field. One of the key initiatives that are part of Germany’s quantum computing efforts is the joint project QSolid. 

QSolid is a collaborative project between ParityQC and a group of German institutions from science and industry, 25 in total, making this the largest consortium of its type in Germany. This ambitious initiative, launched in 2022 and lasting 5 years, seeks to address some of the most pressing challenges that currently inhibit the wider adoption and application of quantum computing. The mission is to develop a comprehensive ecosystem that will be integrated into the JUNIQ supercomputing infrastructure at Forschungszentrum Jülich and made accessible to external users. The initiative has been funded with a total of € 76.3 million by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

At the heart of the QSolid project lies the development and implementation of a scalable and resilient quantum processor with a low error rate. Qubits are notoriously error-prone due to external influences, and this is the main challenge to overcome. In QSolid, this susceptibility to errors in the qubits is to be reduced with the help of high-precision manufacturing methods, new material systems, optimal control of the qubits as well as state-of-the-art error avoidance methods based on artificial intelligence (AI) on a firmware level. The project is aiming for 10 qubits with a low error rate in the medium term and 30 qubits in the long term.

QSolid is ready to deliver on high fidelities and tight integration as an all-German project. We need to collaborate on the best solutions in order to deliver disruptive machines. The opponent is not another country, not another organisation, not another project, not another Bundesland. It is Natures tendency to degrade engineered quantum systems into classical states over time.”
– Frank Wilhelm-Mauch, QSolid Coordinator

QSolid is divided into ten work packages, each one being a stepping stone towards the project’s overarching goals. Here is a list of the work packages, which highlight very well the broad scope of the project:

   WP1 – QPU (Quantum Processing Unit) and Critical Path.

   WP2 – QPUs: Element Evolution. 

   WP3 – Scaling Technology. 

   WP4 – QPU Environment.

   WP5 – Hardware Integration Technology.

   WP6 – Hardware Modelling & Theory.

   WP7 – Hardware Stack for External Access.

   WP8 – Middle and Firmware Stack Control.

   WP9 – Benchmark & Co-Design.

   WP10 – HPC Integration.

The QSolid website offers all the details on the specific activities that are being conducted in each of these work packages. 

The role of ParityQC and our current progress

The role of ParityQC in the project resonates through the majority of the work packages, but we are particularly involved in WP9 and WP10. Our contribution includes the implementation of the ParityQC Architecture, which will contribute to the infrastructure being scalable and error-mitigated, as well as our operating system ParityOS, which will have an important role in the integration of the quantum computer in the HPC environment. An important part of our work is also the constant research and brainstorming around the real-world use cases for the novel infrastructure and the successful integration between HPC and quantum computing. Overall, we are doing our best to leverage the technical expertise and innovative spirit of our company to contribute significantly to the development process of this novel quantum computing ecosystem.

Here are the latest updates on our work and current progress, from our Senior Quantum Software Engineer Stefan Rombouts:

“In the QSolid project, we are working on strategies to make use of the project’s quantum computers to solve real-world problems. One of the use cases we are focusing on, together with our partner HQS, is in the field of chemistry: the calculation of NMR spectra for small molecules. This problem requires simulating the interactions between hydrogen spins in the molecules in order to infer the exact atomic structure of the whole molecule. We are finding ways to speed up such simulations by several orders of magnitude compared to classical simulation algorithms.

By the end of the project, users will be able to combine the power of huge classical compute clusters with the acceleration from quantum processors.

Another important part of our activities is coordinating the integration of the quantum computers in the high-performance computing centre at Forschungszentrum Jülich, so that, by the end of the project, users will be able to combine the power of huge classical compute clusters with the acceleration from quantum processors. 

An obstacle we currently encounter is the uncertainty surrounding the utilization of these machines, as the quantum processors are not yet available and the software designed to harness their capabilities is still in the experimental stage. However, it is crucial to establish the necessary infrastructure now in preparation for the availability of quantum processors. Additionally, we must make strategic design choices that will impact the utilization of these processors. We have started to make a catalogue of possible applications, in order to have something to base our decisions on. There is of course a risk that the catalogue might become outdated in a couple of years (that is, before the end of the project) because new algorithms come up all the time. If any of the readers would like to contribute with a suggestion on how to combine the power of classical high-performance computing with quantum processors, we would be glad to learn about it!”

Final notes on an ambitious endeavour 

QSolid is an extremely ambitious project in the way it seeks to overcome exceptional challenges from the hardware side, while also creating the basis for a quantum computing-HPC infrastructure available to end-users. These two major tasks are taking place in parallel, which is certainly a challenge but ensures that once the technology will be at a sufficiently advanced level, it will be integrated and made available very efficiently.

The project is currently making steady progress, with each of the partners contributing their unique insights, expertise, and resources. The research and development phase is well underway, with the project team defining the design and functionality of the quantum processor. This process involves rigorous testing and optimization procedures, to ensure that the final product is functional, resilient, and adaptable. 

By being part of the QSolid consortium, we’re proud to be driving advancements and innovation in our field. As the quantum computing industry is evolving very rapidly, initiatives like QSolid ensure that we will collectively have an efficient infrastructure at our disposal to make the very best use of the new technologies.

We would like to thank the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for the support for this project, as well as our project partners:

  • Forschungszentrum Jülich (PGI-12-, PGI-2, PGI-8, PGI-11, PGI-13, PGI-3, PGI-9, JSC, ZEA-2)
  • Qruise
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (IPMS, IZM-ASSID)
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT)
  • HQS Quantum Simulations
  • Rosenberger Hochfrequenztechnik
  • Ulm University
  • National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB)
  • University of Stuttgart
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • IQM Germany
  • University of Konstanz
  • University of Cologne
  • Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • supracon
  • ParTec
  • AdMOS
  • LPKF Laser & Electronics
  • Atotech Deutschland
  • Atos
  • CiS Forschungsinstitut für Mikrosensorik
  • Zurich Instruments Germany
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