Rigetti Computing to Lead £10M Consortium to Launch First Commercial Quantum Computer in UK


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Rigetti UK announced it will lead a £10 million consortium to accelerate the commercialisation of quantum computing in the UK. The three-year programme will build and operate the first quantum computer in the UK, make it available to partners and customers over the cloud, and pursue practical applications in machine learning, materials simulation, and finance. Rigetti is joined by Oxford Instruments, University of Edinburgh, quantum software start-up Phasecraft, and Standard Chartered Bank. 

“Our ambition is to be the world’s first quantum-ready economy, which could provide UK businesses and industries with billions of pounds worth of opportunities,”  said Science Minister Amanda Solloway. “Therefore, I am delighted that companies across the country will have access to our first commercial quantum computer, to be based in Abingdon. This is a key part of our plan to build back better using the latest technology, attract the brightest and best talent to the UK and encourage world-leading companies to invest here.”

Many industries central to the UK economy are poised to benefit from quantum computing, including finance, energy, and pharmaceuticals. A recent BCG report projected the global quantum industry to reach £4B by 2024. 

“We are excited to deliver the UK’s first quantum computer and help accelerate the development of practical algorithms and applications. ” said Chad Rigetti, CEO of Rigetti Computing. By providing access to quantum hardware, the collaboration aims to unlock new capabilities within the thriving UK ecosystem of quantum information science researchers, start-ups, and enterprises who have already begun to explore the potential impact of quantum computing.

Rigetti will build the superconducting quantum computer in a Proteox dilution refrigerator provided by Oxford Instruments. The University of Edinburgh will develop new ways of testing quantum hardware and verifying the performance of quantum programs, and will work with Standard Chartered Bank to advance quantum machine learning applications for finance. In addition, Phasecraft will use its deep knowledge of quantum algorithms and high-efficiency quantum software to harness this hardware for near-term applications in materials design, energy, and pharmaceuticals.

In addition to delivering a practical quantum computer in the UK, a key goal of the initiative is to  further develop the country’s quantum computing talent, infrastructure, and national supply chain, and to advance the high-performance computing industry.

“The UK is investing in quantum technologies not only to create society-changing products and services but also to grow talent and expertise, create new jobs and turn outstanding science into economic prosperity,” said Roger McKinlay, challenge director for quantum technologies at UK Research and Innovation. “I am delighted that Rigetti—a global leader in quantum computing—have chosen to invest in the UK through this project, building on the close relationships they have already forged with UK companies and research organisations.”

The consortium is backed by £10 million government and industry investment, including funding from the government’s Quantum Technologies Challenge, led by UK Research & Innovation.

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