Under debate - quantum computing already studied in Finland


A unique programming course for the D-Wave quantum computer makes use of refrigeration technology developed at Aalto University.

While researchers around the world debate whether quantum computer sold by Canadian D-Wave Systems is an actual quantum computer or not, you can soon study the fundamentals and programming of these devices in Finland. The workshop at the IT Center for Science (CSC) in October 2016 will be delivered by D-Wave Systems, currently the only company in the world selling quantum computers. The workshop is one of the first in Europe.

Quantum technologies are expected to soon change the world, as once the invention of the transistors did. CSC and Aalto University are very interested in the opportunities quantum technologies may provide.

‘Quantum computing has matured to such a level that some of our customers want to get their hands on the technology. Hopefully the workshop will open a lot of opportunities for joint research and collaborative activities,’ says Dr Pekka Lehtovuori, Director of Services for Research at CSC.

‘Aalto University already has a half a century of research tradition in the field. D-Wave's quantum computer is a good example of the pioneering research’ says Professor Christian Flindt, the Director of Aalto University's Centre for Quantum Engineering.

Future technology now

Quantum computers can, in principle, solve certain types of problems much faster than conventional computers, such as questions related to real-life optimization problems or in molecular biology, when trying to solve protein’s folded structure. One oft-cited example of a problem suitable for a quantum computer is finding the fastest or shortest route from a number of possible routes.

While a conventional computer performs calculations based on classical bits, quantum computers use quantum mechanical bits, or qubits. The quantum computer is very sensitive to disturbances like vibration and heat.

Regardless of its limitations, the technology creates completely new possibilities for complex problem solving.

‘The D-Wave 2X quantum computer is a piece of 2020s technology. Quantum computers offer the promise of an all new approach for solving scientific modelling problems intractable even for the fastest supercomputers of today,’ says Dr Pekka Manninen, senior high-performance computing specialist at CSC.

Finland is a strong player in the development of quantum technologies

CSC is organizing the workshop in collaboration with the Centre for Quantum Engineering. The quantum technology community at Aalto University, combining two national centres of excellence, is nationally unique, and together with VTT and CSC it is an internationally significant cluster.

Finland is known worldwide for achievements in superconducting components, sensors and detectors as well as in computational methods, new materials research and development.

‘D-Wave’s quantum computer makes use of refrigeration technology developed originally for research purposes at Aalto University, which clearly shows that Finland holds a history of longstanding research efforts in this field,’ says Flindt.

A combination of lectures and hands-on practical labs will guide students through the quantum phenomena harnessed in quantum computers and allow them to implement certain quantum algorithms. The course targets everyone interested in quantum computers, their current state and future prospects.

Further information:

Pekka Manninen
Senior application specialist
CSC – It Center for Science
+358 50 381 2831

Minna Günes
Centre for Quantum Engineering
Aalto University
+358 50 301 8442

More information about Programming the D-Wave 2X Quantum Computer course 12. – 13.10.2016
Centre for Quantum Engineering