The NQCC is being built at the Science & Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Campus in Harwell, Oxfordshire to promote collaboration between quantum hardware and software researchers.
Scientists reckon that quantum computers have the potential to solve problems that today’s most powerful supercomputers cannot. Quantum computing could help in a range of applications, they say, including better use of transport networks by providing the optimal route to save on time and fuel costs, and in pharmaceutical development, to better understand drug interactions by simulating molecular properties.
Construction of the new facility is scheduled for completion in summer 2023. Wates Construction’s contract is worth £31.5m. The project is being developed in partnership with Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The building frame is made from cross-laminated timber. Other offsite components include internal riser and corridor modules along with plant room skids, produced in Wates’ offsite workshop, Prism, in Coventry.
Michael Cuthbert, director of the National Quantum Computing Centre, said: “With the commencement of the main construction work by Wates, we’ve reached a significant milestone for the NQCC. It is a major step towards the UK’s ambition to build and support a vibrant and strong quantum ecosystem. We look forward to seeing the progress in the coming months towards completion of this purpose-built world-class facility.”
Wates Construction managing director Paul Chandler said: “The project will allow increased collaboration and provide new ways of working to help tackle the problems that classical computers can’t resolve. Working alongside the UKRI, we want to ensure that world-leading technological innovation continues to grow and flourish in the UK through having the best-in-class buildings that can facilitate it”.