Challenges for Quantum Computer Science and Simulation Workshop

EPSRC seeks expressions of interest from researchers to participate in a one-day workshop to identify a number of specific challenges that would benefit from the development of quantum computers/simulators and that have high commercial and societal value to the UK. The workshop will be held at the Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel in Bristol on 30 March 2017.


Quantum computing offers a fundamentally different approach to processing information than conventional computing. It has the potential to surpass existing approaches to searching large datasets, factoring large numbers and simulating chemical and biological systems. However, the potential for quantum computers to outperform conventional computers is unclear beyond a small number of applications. Nonetheless, developments in quantum computing are gathering pace and many researchers believe that small-scale (50-100 qubit) quantum systems ('quantum simulators') will be available within five to ten years.

Understanding and harnessing the capabilities of these quantum systems will require fundamentally rethinking many aspects of 'classical' computer science and draw upon the expertise of a wide range of researchers and end users. We anticipate that the challenges identified at this workshop will provide a visible focus and motivation for these communities of practice. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Discuss the role of quantum computing and simulation in addressing future opportunities and challenges in 'post-Moore' era ICT.
  • Discuss the expertise required to address these challenges and identify areas where further collaborative work is required in order to make progress.
  • Identify and prioritise specific research challenges that:
    • could realistically be addressed by envisaged developments in quantum computing and simulation;
    • will have significant economic and societal value to the UK;
    • contribute to and/or draw-upon strengths in UK academia, industry and/or government; and
    • provide a focus to enable stronger working relationships across disciplinary boundaries.

A report will be published following the event to inform the wider community of the challenges that were identified and inform the future strategies of EPSRC and its partners in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

Target Audience

In order to encourage the development of a community of practice around the challenges that are identified and encourage new approaches, we are encouraging contributions from a wide range of research disciplines and at different career stages, including:

  • Researchers engaged with the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, as well as those from the wider mathematical and computer science (e.g. theoretical computer science, algorithm and programming language development, software engineering, verification, machine learning, etc.) physics and engineering communities.
  • Researchers looking to exploit the capabilities of quantum computers and simulators. For example, those involved in data science, robotics and autonomous systems, advanced materials, drug development, engineering design, scheduling, cybersecurity and medical diagnostics.
  • Researchers involved in other new and emerging areas of ICT.
  • Stakeholders from academia, industry and government.

Workshop participants will be a mixture of invited attendees and those selected on the basis of the information supplied in their expressions of interest.

Completed expressions of interest will be assessed by a panel of EPSRC staff. The panel will select participants on the basis of the justification for attendance provided in the completed expression of interest form, while also seeking to ensure the participants are representative of the diversity of research fields that can contribute to/draw-upon quantum computing. Successful applicants will be informed during the week commencing 13 March 2017.