Quantum Conversations: ORCA’s involvement in Digital Catapult’s QTAP

We recently spoke to our Chief Commercial Officer, Per Nyberg about ORCA’s involvement in the recently launched Digital Catapult’s Quantum Technology Access Programme (QTAP) and how ORCA is helping the companies involved develop quantum use cases. 

What is QTAP? 

QTAP is a pivotal part of the Innovate UK-funded Quantum Data Centre of the Future project. Starting in 2021, the project explores how quantum computing should integrate with existing data centres and high-performance computers. But to achieve this, it’s imperative to equip classical computer scientists with the necessary skills and give them access to hardware so they can discover applications for themselves. This is where QTAP comes in. 

QTAP is a 20-week technology access programme that supports companies like Airbus, Rolls-Royce Submarines and the UK Atomic Energy Authority in identifying and developing quantum use cases. 

The programme provides the 11 selected British companies with an opportunity to access expert guidance, state-of-the-art facilities and valuable resources, propelling them towards innovation and competitive advantage in quantum computing. Its goal is to demonstrate the potential of quantum technology and create industry partnerships to drive the future adoption and commercialisation of quantum computing. 

QTAP also aims to expedite quantum adoption across industries, fostering a broader beneficial impact beyond individual organisations. Each one selected works in a fast-growing industry, facing different challenges that could one day be solved using quantum technology. Their participation in QTAP highlights the significance of using quantum technology to help businesses and the importance of exploring new commercial use cases. 

What industry challenges does QTAP address? 

Our primary focus is addressing the lack of availability of real use cases that provide real benefits to businesses, rather than just the broad areas that are typically presented. Ultimately enterprises need to understand where and how quantum will impact their businesses. Potential use cases are often dependent on the availability of fault-tolerant universal quantum computers, but that is a decade away. Organisations are looking to derive benefit from quantum on a nearer timescale.  We’ve noticed that industry discussions have begun to shift away from just universal quantum computing and more towards near-term use cases and technologies. 

When can we expect to see the results? 

The final showcase is being held in early 2024, after which we’ll be able to share some of the use cases developed as part of the programme.  

How does QTAP differ from other quantum programmes? 

Many large companies already have quantum programmes in place, but what we’re offering is a unique space for collaboration. QTAP focuses on technologies that promise nearer-term advantages, with ORCA providing access to our SDK and PT-1 device for them to demo their use cases. 

Why did ORCA decide to get involved? 

For ORCA, participating in QTAP presents a significant opportunity. While we plan to create a universal quantum system in the long term, our PT-1 quantum photonics system, designed for near-term applications, offers immediate quantum-assisted advantages, such as in machine learning and optimisation tasks.  

Collaborating with companies in QTAP enables ORCA to engage with industry experts, exploring and demonstrating how near-term quantum devices can enhance various business use cases across key industries. 

Click here to find out more about QTAP.