Democratizing Access to Quantum Computing

ICTP partners with Open Quantum Institute
Democratizing Access to Quantum Computing
Sara Anzuinelli

In the ever-accelerating realm of technology, quantum computing has emerged as a transformative force, promising to redefine the boundaries of computation as we know it. Unlike classical computers that rely on bits for processing data, quantum computers harness the unique properties of quantum bits, or qubits, to perform computations at an unprecedented scale and speed. Thanks to these advancements, quantum computing opens up new problem-solving capabilities that can help governments, businesses, and society. 

As the world peers into this quantum horizon, a new international initiative involving some of Europe's top research institutes, including ICTP, has been launched by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), an organization dedicated to uniting the future of science with the powers of diplomacy to tackle the most pressing global challenges. 

The initiative, called the Open Quantum Institute (OQI), seeks to unlock the potential of quantum computing for the benefit of all, irrespective of geographical, economic, or scientific constraints. The OQI will bring together public and private stakeholders for inclusive access to quantum computing, offering concrete solutions to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

At the heart of OQI’s mission are four core objectives: 

  • Accelerate the development and deployment of use cases aimed at achieving the SDGs. 
  • Provide global, inclusive, and equitable access to public and private quantum computers and simulators via the cloud, democratizing access to this transformative technology.
  • Develop educational tools that facilitate engagement with quantum computing. 
  • Serve as a neutral forum, facilitating discussions and collaborations to shape the multilateral governance of quantum computing for the SDGs. 

Rosario Fazio, head of ICTP's Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics (CMSP) section, represents ICTP in the initiative. "The role of ICTP within this ecosystem is very important. With its global reach and dedication to advancing science, ICTP is a pivotal player in bridging quantum computing and the pursuit of sustainable development," he said, adding, "Together, these forces are poised to address the world’s most complex challenges and democratize access to quantum computing."

ICTP has a longstanding tradition of excellence in advancing scientific research and development, and quantum technology is no exception. ICTP has been at the forefront of bringing quantum science to developing countries, providing resources and opportunities for researchers and scholars from all over the world. One of ICTP's key initiatives in this field has been the organization of conferences, workshops, and international schools dedicated to quantum technology. For instance, the recent “Summer School on New Trend in Modern Quantum Science” was held in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. These events have brought together experts, researchers, and students to deepen their understanding of the fundamentals of quantum physics and its practical applications in quantum technology. 

Furthermore, ICTP has supported advanced research programs through collaborations with research institutes. For example, together with SISSA, the Centre has embarked on a five-year agreement to investigate the powers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and quantum technologies. 

ICTP's contributions to the quantum field are highly regarded globally: Rosario Fazio was recognized with a Google Faculty Research Award for quantum computing in 2019. His CMSP colleague, Marcello Dalmonte, was among the recipients of the Quantum Flagship, a €1 billion European Commission initiative dedicated to funding quantum technology. Dalmonte serves as a co-principal investigator of a research project focusing on quantum simulation, a key research theme within the Quantum Flagship initiative.

The Open Quantum Institute (OQI) represents a new frontier in quantum computing, dedicated to addressing global challenges. Fazio emphasizes, "We must harness quantum computing's power with those who are the most affected by today's global challenges." The collaboration between ICTP and OQI underscores a commitment to democratize access to quantum computing, bridging science and sustainable development.

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