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Rolls-Royce, Riverlane Partner on Quantum Materials Simulation

Project aims to reduce the number of qubits required for the quantum simulation of new materials

Berenice Baker

December 22, 2023

2 Min Read
A Rolls-Royce jet engine
Quantum computing could help design novel materials for jet engines. Rolls-Royce

Power systems manufacturer Rolls-Royce has teamed with quantum engineering company Riverlane to develop tools to simulate large, complex materials on a quantum computer.

The Quantum Accelerator for Materials Design (QuaMaD) project will build on existing algorithms research at Riverlane, aiming to significantly reduce the number of qubits required to simulate new materials. 

Classical computers are reaching the limits of their capabilities when it comes to simulating large molecules for advanced materials, such as those needed for the jet engines Rolls-Royce makes. Quantum computers hold the promise of solving this problem, but current devices have a limited number of qubits and a significant proportion are needed to carry out error correction, reducing the qubits available to solve problems.

“Riverlane’s Quantum Error Correction Stack sits between the qubit and application layers of the quantum computing stack” explained Riverlane vice-president of quantum science Earl Campbell.

“By reducing the errors at the qubit level, it reduces the number of qubits required to run complex algorithms. We also need better algorithms to help reduce the number of qubits required and unlock applications simply not possible on a classical machine – such as the simulation of new materials.

Related:Rolls-Royce taps quantum for sustainable design

“The QuaMaD project addresses this challenge. It will allow materials design experts to benefit sooner from quantum computers and brings together industry experts in the NQCC and Rolls-Royce, who will help us gain deep insights into use cases valuable for the materials industry.”

“With internal air temperatures reaching 2,000 degrees Celcius, beyond the melting point of the materials we use, jet engines are a hostile environment for its components. Our current state-of-the-art materials have taken many years to develop, and we continually seek improvements in their properties to deliver more efficient engines,” added Rolls-Royce fellow in computational science Leigh Lapworth.

The QuaMaD project is funded by Innovate U.K., which aims to solve problems of interest for technology businesses, in support of the U.K.’s National Quantum Strategy objectives. 

The project will also involve the U.K. National Quantum Computing Center (NQCC), which will engage with other industry leaders in exploring quantum computing use cases across their sectors and business models. 

The tools and knowledge developed in this project will be integrated into Riverlane's Quantum Error Correction Stack, Deltaflow, for quantum computers.

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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