Quantum Hardware, Simulation & Education

The Quantum Hardware, Simulation & Education Project aims to catalogue and boost responsible 2G quantum technology and engineering efforts. It evaluates three main elements. Distinguished from social sciences and humanities oriented RQT projects, this project studies the hardware behind quantum, how we can gain understanding of nature and utilize it for better processes and technologies. Young scientific advances are assessed on the dimensions of technology readiness, quantum intuitiveness, and quantum literacy.

The studied topic of quantum simulation delivers better understanding of (sub-)atomic and molecular processes. Quantum hardware follows to integrates such results more and more into the construction of qubits, sensors, or even medicines. Quantum education is the essential condition to build a skilled quantum workforce and foster quantum literacy: If done right, education follows technology integration horizontally and transfers correct understanding and therefore handling of quantum applications from highly skilled scientists to other stakeholders such as industry, policymakers, and end users.

In these phases, quantum hardware (“construction”), quantum simulation (“design”), and quantum education (“transfer”), no structured registries or standardized educational materials are available. This makes desirable beneficial societal outcomes like a value-based quantum ecosystem, adoption, and regulation difficult and hinders effective collaboration and resource allocation as well as targeted financial investment.

The Project follows a three-phased structure to address these issues stepwise: In the early phase communication with academic and industry players collects the distributed technical knowledge. Thereafter in a next step, the collected data is characterized to represent the current state-of-the-art and findings are condensed to become published in a structured and accessible format, e.g. tracker or database. Lastly, the integration phase communicates back to technical specialists from the early phase, now in tandem midst discussions with educational programs and regulatory entities. By this, the Quantum Hardware, Simulation & Education Project aims to become a communication hub between researchers, regulators, and educators and to build the first regularly updated overview of quantum devices.

Novel to this Project is the aim to create a universal taxonomy for classification of quantum technologies (the Quantum Technology Anticipator has a similar aim). Specific to this project will be profoundly interdisciplinary collaboration and coordination with the academic physics community. We want your ideas, your input, your criticism! A direct knowledge pipeline from inventor to enduser and from university to regulator, within a golden triangle of academia, industry and government, needs to be established. Such knowledge transfer is crucial to preventing miscommunication and misinterpretation and reducing the risks of counterproductive effects of policy interventions.

Strong collaboration between the related Projects occurs: While Quantum Technology Anticipator targets advanced technologies that already shape industry dynamics (Phase III, Phase IV), the Quantum Hardware, Simulation & Education Project puts young scientific ideas (Phase I, Phase II) into focus with the aim to laterally converge in the form of a horizon-scanning integrated workflow. We intend to have a tracker of quantum technologies and quantum-classical hybrids together with respective algorithms that run on addressed backends.

The specific disciplines assessed and included are physics, engineering, chemistry, and molecular sciences. Computational principles and algorithmic designs outside of quantum simulation efforts, especially the field of quantum cryptography, are left to other projects’ specializations.

The above-mentioned tracker shall eventually mature into a useful tool for regulators and educators alike. We aspire to build a structured database, later registry, upon the two Projects’ combined findings. We imagine it to become openly accessible and simplistic in design. A comfortable look-up table with lively updates on ongoing academic and industrial efforts that enable fast evaluation and analyses on technology-readiness level (TRL).

For construction the database, we design alongside the Principles of Responsible Quantum Technology & Innovation and utilize the applicable Quantum Trials framework. The paramount functional is safeguarding, engaging, and advancing the field of quantum technology, society and humankind. This opens quantum technology up from a silo into understanding it as a field that grows from and with other disciplines.

While quantum technology is often compared to the young, emerging dynamics of AI (which is a dynamic, closely related field), we gear the Quantum Hardware, Simulation & Education Project also towards the pharmaceutical domain, while taking cognizance of ethical principles developed during the Asilomar conference. Indeed, when thinking about quantum hardware and simulation, the understanding of “how tiny systems work” and “how to build/make tiny systems work the right way” becomes extremely closely related to medical thinking, as well as to genetic engineering and structural biology.

Overarchingly, four ideas will be developed and refined by this project:

  • The Quantum Trial framework (How should regulators take action?)
  • The Quantum SEA Turtle checklist (How can communities assess QT?)
  • Systematic data analysis + starting a Quantum Trial tracker and database
  • List of analogies/learnings between biotech and quantum tech

The key goal of this project can therefore be summarized by a slightly altered SEA letter collection:
Studying, Educating (on), Advancing
… the field of quantum technology and engineering.