Great success for physics in Hamburg

Researchers at the University of Hamburg build quantum computers

The Institute for Laser Physics at the University of Hamburg, Photo: UHH/Lutsch

Quantum computers promise considerable advantages over classical digital computers for certain tasks. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is now funding a project to develop a quantum computer with around 25 million euros. The total project volume is 29 million euros. Just under ten million euros of this will go to the Institute for Laser Physics at the University of Hamburg.

Researchers at the University of Hamburg have scored a major success in the race to build a quantum computer that can be used for applications. They were able to take the lead in acquiring an outstanding large-scale project to build such a computer in Hamburg. Over the next five years, they will develop a functional quantum optimiser based on so-called Rydberg atoms.

Quantum computers are supposed to surpass the performance of conventional computers many times over because they function completely differently. Instead of classical bits that can take the value of either 0 or 1, they use so-called quantum bits that can be 0 and 1 at the same time. “This gives them immense potential to tackle problems that are unsolvable for classical computers. In particular, they promise to be able to solve important problems in logistics and drug development. They are a central key technology of the 21st century,” says the coordinator of the research consortium Prof. Dr. Klaus Sengstock, group leader at the Institute of Laser Physics at the University of Hamburg and spokesperson of the Cluster of Excellence “CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter”. And he adds: “It is a great success that we can now contribute the expertise we have built up over the past ten years within the framework of our Clusters of Excellence and Collaborative Research Centres to this very exciting project.”

“With this, we want to test how ship routes or supply chains can be improved and made more sustainable so that energy is saved and thus contribute to climate protection,” explains Prof. Dr Henning Moritz, also group leader at the Institute for Laser Physics. Other future areas of application for quantum computers include the calculation of new active substances for medicines or the optimisation of insurance algorithms.

University President Univ. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Lenzen: “I congratulate the team around Professor Sengstock, Professor Moritz and Professor Schmelcher on this outstanding and highly endowed project funding. With it, the University of Hamburg will significantly advance the development of a quantum computer. This project not only has great relevance for new technologies in the relevant societal topics of health, digitalisation and climate change, but also shows once again how strong the University of Hamburg’s transfer services are for business and society.”

Science Senator Katharina Fegebank: “This is great news for Hamburg as a research location. I am very pleased that this flagship project will now receive extensive funding from the federal government. Hamburg thus has the chance to play in the Champions League of quantum physics and quantum technology. Because one thing is clear: this new technology will play a key role in solving increasingly complex problems in the information-driven society of the 21st century. The Senate has also set its sights high in this field: We want to expand transfer projects even more and drive forward innovative developments together with science and industry. With the outstanding expertise at the location, we can find precisely tailored answers to central questions of the future – with new applications in measurement technology, imaging, communication security or through highly complex calculations, for example on climate change. The innovation field of quantum technology has now impressively demonstrated the potential that needs to be tapped here. I warmly congratulate the team of our University of Excellence around Professor Klaus Sengstock and Professor Henning Moritz and am already very excited about the upcoming research successes.”

In addition to scientists from the University of Hamburg, the “RYMAX” research consortium also includes researchers from the University of Kaiserslautern, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM, eight medium-sized high-tech companies and two leading international logistics companies: the trading and service company OTTO group based in Hamburg and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA). Further info: www.quantentechnologien.de/forschung/foerderung/quantencomputer-demonstrationsaufbauten/rymax.html

Questions from the media:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Sengstock
University of Hamburg
Institute for Laser Physics
Tel.: +49 40 8998-5201
E-Mail: klaus.sengstock@physnet.uni-hamburg.de

Source and further information:
Universität Hamburg