Quantum Technology comes to the Home of British Rugby, as Quantum Leaders conference aims to make Britain a Quantum Superpower

The one-day Quantum conference Quantum.Tech came to Twickenham, famous for its Rugby stadium, but the attendees were not interested so much in the hallowed venue itself or Rugby, but rather, how the UK can remain in the top league of the quantum technology world stage.

A vast array of speakers attended such as the infamous Sir Peter Knight, who often needs no introduction, but if we were, it would take a long time. Suffice to say, Sir Peter has worked at the bleeding edge of science and technology and is behind much of the innovation in photonics. Other speakers came from research councils and government and of course, those who are actively working to commercialise quantum technology – and that means just about everyone from fledgeling start-ups to more established scale-ups and some of whom now appear to be grand-daddies of the Quantum age such as Cambridge Quantum and Rigetti.

Photonics does more for the GDP of the United Kingdom than pharmaceuticals!

Sir Peter Knight

To write here a summary of the day would not really do justice to the field or the speakers, but we will include a few interesting snippets from the day. The line-up included many scientists who have been inspired to take their achievements from the lab and commercialise them. We heard from the likes of M2 founder: Graeme Malcolm which is one of the providers of equipment and hardware for the scientific industry, one of the enablers of the quantum photonic revolution that we are seeing right now.

The audience was also treated to some of the applications of Quantum Computing and Quantum sensing. Hearing from the likes of BP (British Petroleum) on the use cases for Quantum sensing. Example use-cases included using Quantum Computing in Drug Discovery as exemplified by UCB (a leading pharmaceutical company) who are exploring using Quantum for small molecules. As is well known in science, the “folding problem” means that is it difficult to predict protein structure from amino acid bases. Bhusan Bonde talks through some of his work exploring and contrasting with the Alpha fold code from Deep Mind.

More on the application side included talks from DunnHumby (famous for Tesco Clubcard) who need to optimized pricing decisions for their customers (not just Tesco). The team at DH have been busy exploring how they can get familiar with quantum computing, even if the problem space they can solve is much smaller than they typically need.

Dunn Humby has been experimenting with Quantum Computing to solve their optimization problems such as pricing and cannibalization (which happens when there are intragroup promotions) such as promoting one brand of coke over another. DH are formalising their problem in a matrix which can be solved with a quantum computer – albeit at a small scale. David Hoyle spoke about the pitfalls and caveats of getting this small scale problem working on Quantum hardware.
Cambridge Quantum founder and CEO talking about the tie-up between themselves and Honeywell, creating one of the largest Quantum Software companies on the globe. Unlike some of the larger technology behemoths such as IBM or even Google, Cambridge Quantum is dedicated to Quantum Computing with a rapidly growing headcount looking at exploring commercialisation of Quantum through algorithms and software including their dedicated Quantum programming language t|ket> which is now open-sourced.
Quantum.Dice creates verifiable Quantum Random Numbers. Whilst this might seem like a problem that has already been solved, there is a need for high-quality random numbers in a variety of sectors such as security, but also with regard to computer simulation where randomness plays a key role. As we saw not that long ago, Samsung is already shipping phones with Random Number Generators in their Quantum range.
CEO of Oxford Quantum Circuits Ilana Wisby describes how the company built their qubit technology from the ground up to have better individual properties. This change in thinking has led to the technology from Oxford University being spun out into OQC. They have also in a milestone created Europe’s first Quantum Computer which has been used by Cambridge Quantum. The company now offers private access to their QAAS or Quantum As A Service.
Diamonds might not just be a girl’s best friend. The spin-off from De Beer’s has been busy exploring the applications for diamonds in Quantum Computing amongst the other commercial applications.

Sadly we could not cover everything, but we hoped that we gave you a taste of the exciting developments that are happening around the world. But the best way to learn about quantum is to read the news, perhaps even attend the Boston Quantum.Tech conference coming up!

One of the panel sessions exploring how the UK can position itself at the centre of the Quantum Revolution. On the panel included luminaries such as Roger McKinlay (Challenge Director – Quantum Technologies) who keep the panel primed with questions and ensuring not just the easy questions were answered.