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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

The Chatterjee Group to start building a quantum computer

Computer is coming up at Sector V, Salt Lake, in Calcutta at TCG Centres for Research and Education in Science & Technology

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 28.04.23, 05:03 AM
The developments at TCG Crest comes days after the Centre announced National Quantum Mission 2024-31 where funding worth Rs 6,000 crore would be available.

The developments at TCG Crest comes days after the Centre announced National Quantum Mission 2024-31 where funding worth Rs 6,000 crore would be available. File photo

A research institute led by The Chatterjee Group (TCG) is going to start building a quantum computer from next week, marking a significant step in the evolution of fundamental research and application in the field of quantum computing in India.

The computer is coming up at Sector V, Salt Lake in Calcutta at the TCG Centres for Research and Education in Science & Technology (TCG Crest). The first phase of the computer is expected to be built by the end of the year and further scaled up in 2-3 years.

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The initial investment in the project is about Rs 10 crore even as the total cost is estimated to be Rs 100 crore when the computing capacity of the computer is scaled up going forward. Once ready, the superconducting quantum computer can be engaged in frontier research and skilling scientists of India in quantum computing.

There are only a handful of countries which are known to possess quantum computing skills. It is known that for certain problems, quantum computers outperform classical computers. They can be used to address some of the real world applications such as new drug development.

As the first building block for the hardware at TCG Crest, a dilution refrigerator, imported from Finland, which operates at a temperature just 0.01 degree Celsius above absolute zero (minus 273.15 degree Celsius) will be installed from next week.

With this, the highly complex task of setting up superconductivity qubits based quantum computer, in consultation with the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Mumbai, will take off now, Bhanu Pratap Das, director, Centre for Quantum Engineering Research & Education under TCG Crest, said.

While the first qubit (quantum bit) will be procured from TIFR, subsequent development of the qubits for the superconducting quantum computer will be carried out in-house at TCG Crest. As a thumb rule, quantum computers with higher qubits would be able to do more complex computations faster.

While setting up the quantum computer, which involves enormous engineering challenges requiring skilled professionals, addresses the hardware part, work in the field of quantum algorithms to develop the programme (quantum software) to operate the computer is also going on.

“We have been receiving funding from the central government which allows CQuERE to use two quantum computers in North America,” Bhupendra Nath Dev, professor at CQuERE, said.

The centre also inked a collaboration agreement with Barcelona, Spain based start-up Qilimanjaro to set up a special kind of quantum computer known as the quantum annealer for simulating the properties of molecules in Barcelona.

This work will be funded by a grant from the European Commission and will also support a PhD scholar from CQuERE. Talks are on with the USA and Japan in which CQuERE is expected to play a significant role with its research capabilities in the field of quantum computing.

The developments at TCG Crest comes days after the Centre announced National Quantum Mission 2024-31 where funding worth Rs 6,000 crore would be available. The NQM plans to focus on four areas: quantum computing, quantum sensing and metrology, quantum communication and quantum materials and devices. “Research at CQuERE covers most of the areas that will be pursued in NQM,” Das added.

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