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Compiler funding to help quantum computing reach potential

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Professor Bob Coecke and Dr Niel de Beaudrap have received funding from the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account for a project developing a quantum computing compiler.

The one-year project, entitled ‘Compilation and cost-reduction of quantum computations via ZX-calculus’, looks to improve both with the efficiency and the flexibility of the compiler. Its success would play a pivotal role in quantum computers becoming part of the `real world', and realising its potential as one of the two most promising transformational technologies (alongside artificial intelligence) for the future.

As in traditional computing, the efficiency of the compiler in quantum computing is vital, since otherwise the algorithmic gain could get lost in the translation from theory to practical implementation. However, unlike conventional computers which have a well-established hardware architecture, quantum computers may take many different forms, which substantially stretches the role of the compiler, having to mediate between entirely different physical devices.

The research team will use ZX-calculus, developed in 2008 by Bob at Oxford, to fill the gap between quantum hardware and quantum software. They will design ZX-calculus based algorithms that efficiently reduce the cost of implementing quantum circuits on quantum hardware, and are flexible enough to be used with any possible hardware architecture.

The team will partner with Cambridge Quantum Computing, the world-number-one in quantum software/compilation, which has also had many direct involvements with quantum computing hardware.

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