Dutch government funds Delft QuTech centre


During his annual Innovation Lecture in The Hague, minister Kamp announced the establishment of the QuTech Centre in Delft. QuTech is to form the bridge between research on the quantum computer and the Dutch high-tech industry. The Netherlands is one of the first countries in the world to establish such a large-scale initiative.

‘QuTech is an exemplary result of cooperation in the field of innovation. The best researchers will collaborate with the most innovative companies and the government to develop a revolutionary technology into new products,' says Kamp.


Leo Kouwenhoven (head of QuTech): ‘Our ambition is to build the world’s first working quantum computer. Our scientific know-how is now approaching the point where we can prove that we can really build such a computer. Intensive cooperation with the Dutch high-tech sector – which is luckily of a very high standing – is crucial in order to achieve this.’
During the past years, scientific research on the quantum computer has really taken off. The Majorana particle, which was detected for the first time by Van Kouwenhoven’s research group in Delft last year, can also play an important role, as can the quantum entanglement at a distance, recently realized by the group of TU Delft Professor Ronald Hanson.

Mathematical problems solved in a flash

The quantum computer makes use of an extraordinary phenomenon: elementary particles have a quantum state. This means that they can exist in several states simultaneously. In a quantum computer, a quantum bit is simultaneously 1 and 0, instead of 1 or 0 as in a normal computer. This enables the computer to rapidly solve mathematical problems with extremely large numbers of variables. These mathematical problems are common in daily life, for example in the models that predict the weather, in performing calculations on materials with extraordinary properties, or in accurately determining the effects of medicines in a cell. Such mathematical problems currently require huge amounts of time to calculate using powerful supercomputers, but can be solved by a quantum computer in a flash.


The centre will start to take shape in the coming months. The scientists in Delft will seek cooperation with other research institutes that can offer complementary technological expertise, such as TNO and SRON. The Dutch research funding organisations NWO, FOM and STW, which have been supporting the research over the past few years, will also be staying on board. A group of early adopters from the business community are involved as well. Some will be building components, others wish to put our quantum knowledge to use in other applications, such as sensors.

(article by TuDelft/Roy Meijer)