Collaboration with IBM in the field of quantum technologies was officially confirmed by UWB's Rector Miroslav Lávička on January 29th, along with representatives from the CTU in Prague, Charles University and the University of Defense. The coordination will be managed by the CyberSecurity Hub.
The goal of this innovative collaboration is to advance the development of skills for students and researchers in the field of quantum computing. The main focus is to ensure an adequate number of experts for the future. The collaboration will encompass a wide range of activities, including research in the areas of quantum computers and quantum software, with an emphasis on optimization, quantum machine learning, engineering, and programming. The most crucial aspect will be the development in areas such as disease prevention, energy management, transportation optimization, agricultural product development and precise diagnostics.
Quantum technologies are often referred to as future technologies, representing a revolutionary potential in the field of computational power and information processing. "Quantum computers can solve certain tasks much more efficiently than classical computers due to the principles of quantum mechanics. Classical computers operate with bits, which can take values of 0 or 1, while quantum computers work with so-called qubits, which can exist in both states simultaneously, enabling them to perform many computations at once and be significantly faster than classical computers," explains Petr Kavalíř, the director of the New Technology - Research Centre (NTC) and the authorized representative for quantum technologies in the Czech Republic, who was also present at the signing of the agreement. "These groundbreaking technologies will find applications in optimization, cryptography, molecular structure simulation, and other areas. However, it is important to note that we still face challenges that need to be overcome. Despite quantum technologies being at the early stages of development, they open new possibilities in research and industrial applications," he adds.
The collaboration with IBM, a leading international technology company in the development of quantum computers, puts the Czech Republic on the map of quantum technologies. IBM's regional headquarters in Prague focuses on artificial intelligence and, specifically, quantum computers. The Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) was the first Czech institution to join IBM's quantum computer network. Other universities that signed the memorandum will subsequently have the opportunity to access these cutting-edge technologies.
The University of West Bohemia (UWB) is primarily involved in the collaboration in the field of materials, thanks to the NTC and the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Petr Kavalíř describes a five-year project they are working on with other partners: "At the end of last year, we succeeded in the prestigious Excellent Research call of The Johannes Amos Comenius Programme (P JAC) . We launched a project worth half a billion crowns, focusing on the research of quantum materials for sustainable technologies. These materials will have applications, for example, in quantum computers, sensors, integrated circuits, or energy-efficient electronic devices."
Quantum materials are substances in which so-called quantum phenomena, occurring at the level of atoms and subatomic particles such as electrons and photons, play a crucial role. These phenomena influence the behavior of materials on a macroscopic scale, resulting in unusual properties. For instance, quantum mechanics explains the characteristics of electrons in conductors, insulators, semiconductors and other materials, affecting their electrical or thermal conductivity and optical properties. Examples of such materials include superconductors, capable of conducting electric current without any resistance, or topological insulators, which act as insulators on the inside but conduct electricity on the surface.
Ján Minár, the principal investigator of the QM4ST project focused on sustainable quantum technologies, adds: "The signed memorandum confirms the correctly outlined research direction of our teams and also brings UWB closer to real quantum computations, providing a significant opportunity for the development of quantum issues and the incorporation of progressive and attractive topics into education."
Photo: Czech Technical University in Prague