Government puts £80m into quantum technology
Chancellor takes quantum leap with investment in four projects
The government is putting £80m into four projects to develop quantum technology.
The cash, which will be invested over a period of five years, will be used to support universities with existing research and development programmes in various areas.
The first of these is the University of Strathclyde, which is working with the University of Glasgow and other partner organisations to develop quantum imaging. The technology is being designed to provide live imagery that could, the government said, “see through snow storms, around corners and map hidden underground hazards”, and could ultimately be used in situations such as search-and-rescue missions or hostage recovery.
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The University of Oxford will also receive government money to support its work in the field of quantum computing and simulation. The institution is aiming to use quantum technology to “trivially solve complex problems which currently stump our most advanced supercomputers”.
The University of Birmingham, meanwhile, will receive funding for its research into how quantum sensing and metrology could help improve mining. Government backing will also be given to work taking place at the University of York to develop quantum communications for use in financial transactions and data transfers.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “The UK is a world leader in quantum technologies, but others are investing hard to catch up with us. The £80m in new funding… will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution. Technological leadership boosts our economy and our productivity, meaning higher growth and higher wages.”
Quantum technology aims to take some of the principles of quantum mechanics – the branch of physics concerned with atomic and sub-atomic particles – and apply them to areas such as computing and encryption.
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