QuSoft is the Dutch research center for the development of software and technology for future quantum computers.
QuSoft was launched in 2015 and is a collaboration between Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Its aim is to make the best use of the quantum computer once it is available. Therefore researchers are already developing new protocols, algorithms and applications that can run on future quantum hardware. Six years after its start, QuSoft has about 70 junior and senior researchers.
Pioneering fundamental research
In accordance with its mission statement, CWI conducts pioneering fundamental research with a clear eye on transferring knowledge to society. CWI’s collaboration within QuSoft is a perfect example of this, despite the fact that the applications of the quantum computer still lie in the future. The collaboration can also be seen as a culmination of a long line of research in quantum computing at CWI that goes back to the 1990’s, when CWI Fellow Paul Vitanyi got interested in the theme and stimulated hiring researchers.
The first article on quantum computing by a CWI-researcher was published in 1996 by the present director of QuSoft, Harry Buhrman. Buhrman also leads CWI’s Algorithms & Complexity research group and is a professor at UvA. About the development of quantum software, he says: “We know of some things the quantum computer can calculate faster, and some things we have proved it cannot. But in between, there is a very large grey area of research questions.” QuSoft-researchers are exploring that unknown territory.
Once both the quantum hardware and the quantum software are ready, the quantum computer has many potential applications: from a better understanding of the behavior of molecules (leading to faster development of new materials and medicines), to the determination of optimal delivery routes (as used in logistics), the rapid search in huge data volumes (as used in big data applications) and the development of new ways of encrypting sensitive information (as used in banking).
In the long term, the quantum computer will create new business models and threaten old ones, and that is the reason that many companies already cooperate in research projects with QuSoft.