UK’s Quantum Computing Initiative Phasecraft Receives £1.2M Government Contract as Part of Quantum Catalyst Fund

Phasecraft – the startup led by top academics developing world-leading quantum algorithms – has won a £1.2 million UK Government contract as part of the UK’s Quantum Catalyst Fund.

Phase One of the Fund saw Phasecraft awarded “a contract for a feasibility study to explore the application of quantum computing to optimization problems within energy grids.”

Following the successful completion of Phase 1, Phase 2 of this project “will see Phasecraft work with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to prioritise and attempt to address such optimization problems with quantum solutions.”

The project began on 1 January, 2024.

Science Minister, Andrew Griffith MP, said:

“As we steer towards an economy benefitting from quantum, this further £45 million in funding underscores our commitment to support bright UK innovators who are pushing boundaries and seizing the potential of this technology to transform our public services. Cutting-edge work on a quantum enabled brain scanner, which will be a beacon of hope for those battling neurological conditions, is just one example. The UK is already one global leader in quantum and to maintain that position this government will continue to invest in this transformational technology propelling the UK into a new era of technological prowess and economic growth.”

Phasecraft designs novel quantum algorithms “to solve real-world problems on the imperfect quantum computers of today, aiming to accelerate the widespread adoption of quantum computing from decades to years away.”

Its algorithms are based on novel insights “from theoretical physics and computer science, and Phasecraft’s early focus is on applying these algorithmic improvements to modeling and simulation problems, such as the discovery of new materials and optimization problems, including problems that are important in the design and use of complex energy grids.”

Optimizing energy grids is a problem of particular importance at the governmental level in the UK.

The majority of individuals and businesses “rely on constant energy for their day-to-day activity, meaning avoiding outages and re-routing energy in the case of extreme weather events is critical.”

Building and maintaining grid connections “is also extremely expensive, costing up to £1.5 million per km of line, which is why determining the optimal layout and usage of the network’s growing infrastructure is important to keeping costs as low as possible for the taxpayer and consumer.”

However, running the grid is becoming increasingly complex, “with the demand for electricity set to double by 2040 and with millions of smaller renewable generators connecting to the grid.”

This complexity means the traditional algorithms “used to optimise the grid are no longer fit for purpose.”

Phasecraft will look to develop quantum solutions “to this problem and will work with the Supergen Energy Networks Hub and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero as part of the contract.”

The new contract comes on “the back of a successful year for the startup which raised £13M in Series A funding in August to reach practical quantum advantage – when quantum computers outperform classical computers for useful real-world applications.”

Ashley Montanaro, co-founder, and CEO of Phasecraft, said that handling the complexity and improving the resilience of the grid against vulnerabilities is a significant computational challenge.

Quantum computing has the potential to solve important problems in a number of sectors, not least the public sector, and we’re glad that the UK Government shares this belief.”



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