In the race to build the world’s first universal quantum computer, the UK government has announced that it will invest funds in a new National Quantum Computing Centre.

In the 2018 Budget, announced earlier this week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond promised £1.6bn to fund “advanced technologies”, with £235m going towards the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies.

This is on top of the £80m announced in September for the continuation of four quantum development hubs.

As well as establishing the National Quantum Computing Centre, the funding boost will go towards establishing a Quantum Challenge to bring technology to markets and boost the economy, and new centres for doctoral training to upskill future experts.

The money will also go towards establishing centres for doctoral training, designed to equip individuals for careers in quantum technologies.

National Quantum Computing Centre key to UK’s industrial strategy

Part of the UK government’s modern Industrial Strategy, investment in quantum technology is intended to address the medical, environmental, security and societal challenges of the future.

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Quantum computing could be behind the next generation of sensing, imaging, timing, navigation, communications and computing devices, using sub-atomic particles to carry out operations using different methods to conventional computers.

Quantum computers would therefore be able to carry out tasks not possible using today’s computers, such as rapidly cracking codes, investigating the interaction of cells in the body and analysing complex weather systems.

Quantum sensors and clocks could also enable navigation in areas where satellite signals from GPS and Global Navigation Satellite Systems are unavailable.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“There is a huge future for cutting edge science in the UK which is why we are investing in ambitious technologies, like quantum, in our modern Industrial Strategy.

“Quantum technology has already developed sensors that can visualise the invisible deep underground, and see round corners. It makes the impossible, possible and now we are backing UK innovators to continue this world-leading work.”