The start of a new revolution: the development and use of quantum computers

The “Quantum Computing Development” project, funded by IFAB, to contribute to the development of potential applications of quantum computing

The world we live in is distinctive for the enormous mass of interconnected data that surrounds us: this is the biggest effect of the digital revolution, which some time ago introduced us to actions like the coding, production and use of innumerable quantities of data. A question of quantity, therefore, and one that is closely associated with the tools for processing and accessing said data: in such a context of hyperinformation, the processing role performed by calculators is fundamental, to put it mildly. The “Quantum Computing Development” project is designed to contribute to the development, testing and streamlining of new quantum computing technologies, the new calculation paradigm which in all probability will complement and subsequently replace the classic high-performance computing in the next 20 years.

What is a quantum computer? It is an instrument that exceeds the calculation power of classic computers thanks to the introduction of principles of quantum mechanics. Compared with a classic computer, which works on the basis of binary and consequential logic, the quantum computer processes information in parallel and simultaneously (quantum parallelism): this is a key aspect because it enables the machine to manage a much larger amount of information, to drastically reduce processing times and finally to improve the performance and the efficiency of calculation output.

Quantum algorithms are particularly effective in addressing optimisation problems, but also in cryptography and the training of neural networks. We can already identify the biggest application opportunities for quantum computers today. A few examples: in economics, in the optimisation of investment portfolios; in the mobility sector, to manage traffic flow and optimise logistics resources; in the chemical/pharmaceutical field, to test molecules and experiment with drugs; in improving the efficiency of the machine learning algorithms that underlie digital platforms like Google and social media.

The world which we are helping to create needs – and will continue to need, with increasing urgency – extremely powerful computers that are able to quickly and efficiently manage large amounts of increasingly complex and interconnected information: quantum computing is the solution and “Quantum Computing Development” is a project which, in Italy and Emilia-Romagna, focuses on carrying out experiments with the aim of developing and implementing practical applications of this extremely important new tool.

Goals of the project

This project is part of IFAB’s strategy to transform the Bologna Technopole into a benchmark in Europe for the industrial and financial applications of high-performance computing technologies. A research group will be set up, and it will allow:

  • the Foundation itself to take part in the National research in the important field of Quantum computing;
  • the inclusion of the Foundation in the European research programme on Quantum computing;
  • the Bologna-Emilia-Romagna Data Valley Pole to be recognised at the European level as a benchmark for the industrial and financial applications of high-performance computing technologies;
  • regional and Italian businesses to access with easy approaches to scientific high-performance computing, and in particular to quantum methodologies for solving complex problems.

Possible applications

The project is based on the development of quantum algorithms for hybrid machine learning and for the optimization of problems related to combinatorics. They will be implemented in multiple fields: industry, finance, sociology, medicine, urban systems.

In particular, possible implementations for firms are here below investigated. They may concern:

  • the optimization of logistic problems in the field of telecommunications;
  • the optimization of financial portfolios;
  • the analysis of social networks;
  • diagnostic imaging;
  • intelligent management of traffic flows of autonomous vehicles;
  • simulation of chemical and physical systems for pharmaceutical synthesis;
  • upgrading of machine learning algorithms with a forecasting goal;

The project may be a starting point in research, for a deeper cooperation with other European partners for bigger programmes. They may cover major problems, such as:

  • resolution of non-linear equations for aerodynamics modeling;
  • simulation of weather events on a large scale;
  • efficient query in a database;
  • cryptography protocols.
  • Enables businesses in Emilia-Romagna and across Italy to access easy approaches to scientific high-performance computing and, in particular, quantum approaches for solving complex issues.

Research partners

  • IFAB
  • University of Bologna
  • INFN, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare
  • CINECA
  • Leithà

For further information, please contact: adele.delbello@ifabfoundation.org

Stay updated on the latest IFAB events and projects.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter