Cisco Collaborates on UK Quantum Data Center Project

UK Government awards $2.9M for rack-mounted system that will enable quantum computers to scale.

Berenice Baker

February 1, 2024

2 Min Read
Abstract quantum computing visualization

This article originally appeared in IoT World Today.

The UK government has awarded quantum networking company Nu Quantum a $2.9 million contract to deliver a world-first modular, rack-mounted, scalable quantum data center prototype.

Networking infrastructure supplier Cisco is partnering on the project and is the prospective end user. Cisco will contribute to key system requirements and help to evaluate final deliverables using its experience in delivering scalable, reliable, high-performance data center services.

Nu Quantum is developing the project, Lyra, under the Small Businesses Research Initiative (SBRI) competition ‘Quantum Networks, Enabling Components and Systems.’ It aims to deliver modular rack-mounted modules that enable in-field upgrades to support different types of quantum computers and qubits. It will use an architecture that will allow the system to easily scale to support a large cluster of quantum processing units (QPUs).

Achieving quantum advantage, defined as quantum computers being able to outperform classical computers, needs thousands of times more error-corrected qubits than current systems have. One way to achieve this is by combining thousands of QPUs supported by quantum networking units (QNUs).

The Lyra project intends to deliver the world-first modular, rack-mounted, and scalable QNU prototype.

“We are honored to be awarded the contract from UK SBRI to pilot the first prototype of a quantum data center in the world and to have an amazing partner like Cisco,” said Nu Quantum co-founder and CEO Carmen Palacios.

“Lyra takes the cornerstone quantum networking units from optical bench to a deployable, prototype product, capable of supporting test-bed integration with trapped-ion qubits and software stacks. The Lyra QNU is designed for future support of different qubit modalities and is a huge step forward in bringing quantum out of the lab and into real-world use.”

Cisco UK and Ireland head of co-Innovation Peter Shearman added: “The potential of quantum computing is extremely exciting. However, it is increasingly accepted that to reach its potential quantum networking will be needed to scale quantum computing to a fault-tolerant era.

“We are delighted to partner with Nu Quantum to accelerate this journey towards a modular, qubit-agnostic and data center-optimized future.”

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