skip to content



Wednesday 14th March 2018 to Thursday 15th March 2018

Isaac Newton Institute

United Kingdom


Next generation (Quantum) computers promise to speed up some mathematical processes by orders of magnitude, but new algorithms and software will need to be developed to exploit this power. Although general-purpose quantum computers are some years away, work should start on the software now. As quantum machines operate in a completely different way to conventional computers, code development requires entirely new thinking. 

In 2015 the UK government launched the 5-year UK National Quantum Technology Programme, now worth ~£400m, the largest public investment ever made in a disruptive technology. The aim is to exploit the UK’s world-class quantum science to create a profitable and sustainable business in the UK. Part of this is funding UK development of quantum processors, but their unique characteristics will need new ways of thinking to create the code necessary for practical application to industrial problems. It has been suggested that quantum computer software will create more wealth than the hardware, important though that is.


This workshop was a collaboration between the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the Turing Gateway to Mathematics.It aimed help address the need to build UK capacity in the development of quantum computer algorithms and software for industry, in order to exploit the potential processing power of next generation quantum computers. The workshop brought together real-world problem owners (from , telecoms, EO, environment, finance, manufacturing and materials), with mathematicians, algorithm experts, and academic quantum computer hardware experts to explain what code developers need to know to create software, without getting bogged down in the underlying physics. The aim was to do this in sufficient detail to spark immediate cooperation and collaboration.

The event began with 2 academics talks which helped to set the scene. Session 2 enabled problem owners from industry to highlight challenges which might potentially benefit from quantum computing. In addition to a number of break-out groups sessions, there were talks on computational and benchmarking perspectives and new paradigms in classical approaches.
In the break out groups, participants discussed the industry challenges that had been presented and explored how these might be tackled currently and then reflected on how quantum computation might be of benefit and how this might be implemented.

Participants included academic researchers and individuals from business and industry. Various classes of problems were discussed and a number of relevant sectors were represented - including medicine discovery, logistics, earth observation and finance.

We also updated delegates on the anticipated capabilities of classical machines 5 or 10 years from now, when practical quantum processing may be available. 

A programme of talks and discussion highlighted and explored what code developers need to know to create software capable of delivering industrial needs and ideally gain estimates of speed-ups which could be expected. Extra consideration was given to where classical computing architectures will be in the same timeframes we expect Quantum Computing to begin to deliver.

Registration and Venue

This event was by invitation only.

The workshop took place at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge. Please see the Isaac Newton Institute website for further information about the venue.

Additional information can be found on the KTN website.

Accommodation and Dinner

Nearby en-suite B&B accommodation was reserved at the Arundel House Hotel for the night of Wednesday 14th March.

A college dinner for registered participants took place on Wednesday 14th March.


In Collaboration with