NERSC Turns to Quantum for Chemistry, Physics Research

New partnership with QuEra aims to advance the Department of Energy’s scientific research
Berenice Baker

March 28, 2023

A data centre lit in blue
NERSC aims to solve problems in quantum dynamics, chemistry, high-energy physics and other fields. Getty

The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is partnering with quantum computing startup QuEra Computing to help its researchers develop and evaluate quantum computers.

NERSC plans to use QuEra’s Aquila quantum computer, which uses neutral-atom technology, to support its goal of enabling its users to solve problems in quantum dynamics, chemistry, high-energy physics and other fields.

NERSC is a national facility that offers 9,000 users from different scientific disciplines computational resources for scientific research. It provides high-performance computing (HPC) and data resources for research supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

“It is a privilege to provide NERSC with access to QuEra’s quantum computing resources and to contribute to its ongoing efforts to increase its users’ computing capability,” said QuEra Computing CEO Alexander Keesling.

“We believe the vast pool of scientists who turn to NERSC for computing resources stand to benefit

greatly from our technology. It is our hope that through this partnership, we can help accelerate scientific breakthroughs in an array of disciplines.”

The partnership begins this spring with a project designed to enable NERSC’s experts to explore the Aquila quantum computer and evaluate its capabilities, with a long-term goal of understanding how such technologies could support the complex needs of NERSC’s user base.

“Adding quantum computing and quantum simulation capabilities of this kind has the potential to impact a significant portion of NERSC’s user base, whose work is in sectors where there are direct applications for this technology,” said NERSC senior science advisor and head of the HPC department Richard Gerber.

“Technology is evolving quickly in the HPC space. This project will increase our capacity to better serve our users in the future and reflects NERSC’s commitment to providing the scientific community with new and advanced computational tools as they become available.”

As well as offering NERSC scientists access to quantum computing resources, QuEra says the partnership will also give it insights into how users use the technology so they can better support future partnerships.

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