Quantum Computing

A revolution to reshape computing

Following a pioneering workshop on quantum computing held at CERN in 2018, CERN openlab started a number of projects in quantum computing that are at different stages of realisation. These projects feed into the CERN Quantum Technology Initiative, launched in 2020.

While quantum computing should not be considered a panacea, this technology does hold significant potential:

  • It is poised to unlock unprecedented levels of computing power, improving our collective ability to simulate complex systems and understand the world around us.
  • It is likely to be much greener than classical forms of computing.
  • Quantum communication and encryption techniques are also exciting; these could, for example, play an important role in protecting citizens’ privacy.

CERN is exceptionally well placed for quantum computing: as well as having experience with complex algorithms and with the physics that underpin this technology, the Organization has the required expertise in cryogenics, electronics, and materials. Nevertheless, we know that quantum computing technologies can only achieve their full potential for good if access is equitable and appropriate governance agreements and security systems are put in place. While the technology itself may be a decade or more away, the work to achieve these things needs to start now. As with AI technologies today, and the Web and the Grid earlier, CERN will be working with stakeholders across society — in an open, transparent manner — to achieve this, with a goal of improving the lives of people across the globe. Find out more on quantum.cern.