The UK has taken a step towards realising its ambition to become the world’s first quantum-ready economy after receiving £10 million government and industry backing for the first commercially available quantum computer to be hosted in Abingdon. The aim is to assist businesses who want to explore how they could harness the power of quantum computing in the future.

UK Science Minister, Amanda Solloway, said “Our ambition is to be the world’s first quantum-ready economy, which could provide UK businesses and industries with billions of pounds worth of opportunities. Therefore, I am delighted that companies across the country will have access to our first commercial quantum computer, to be based in Abingdon."

“This a key part of our plan to build back better using the latest technology, attract the brightest and best talent to the UK and encourage world-leading companies to invest here.”

Quantum computing is seen to be of most benefit to industries including pharmaceuticals, aerospace and transport as it could help them to accelerate the discovery of new drug treatments, improve the efficiency of global supply chains and cut road traffic in towns and cities, whilst in the telecom sector telco’s including Deutsche Telekom, TIM and Korea’s SK Telecom are reportedly exploring quantum technology.

Currently few quantum computing platforms are being developed globally, so the UK sees a great opportunity to be a leader in the field. The UK quantum computer will be developed by Rigetti Computing, whose CEO Chad Rigetti said:

“By providing access to quantum hardware, the collaboration aims to unlock new capabilities within the thriving UK ecosystem of quantum information science researchers, start-ups, and enterprises who have already begun to explore the potential impact of quantum computing.”

The funding for Rigetti UK is part of the government’s Quantum Technologies Challenge, led by UK Research & Innovation. In June this year, the government announced 38 new projects that are benefiting from over £70 million funding.