Scottish Universities play a leading role in the UK Quantum Computing programme covering different technologies for qubits and, equally importantly, on the development of software and algorithms for Quantum Computing. Our work is strongly integrated into the UK national programme through the QT Hubs, Innovate UK, and large EPSRC projects, as well as to international programmes including the EU Flagship in Quantum Technologies, and a variety of US-funded projects.

Hardware – Neutral Atoms

The University of Strathclyde is the leading UK department in quantum computing and simulation with neutral atoms, which is strongly integrated with architecture development.  Neutral atom quantum computing offers the potential to rapidly scale up the number of qubits and thereby tackle a larger range of “real world problems”.  There are two distinct experimental platforms:

  • Neutral atom arrays (with Rydberg-based quantum computing): Strathclyde, together with photonics and quantum technology company M-Squared Lasers are developing next-generation neutral atom processors for digital quantum computation and adiabatic quantum computing, as well as quantum simulation.
  • Cold Atoms in Optical Lattices: These act as analogue computers for materials science applications, somewhat like wind tunnels for designing and testing quantum materials.  They also act as a development platform for other quantum technologies (including atomic clocks and sensors).

Hardware – Superconducting Circuits

The University of Glasgow hosts a strong programme in developing superconducting detectors and circuits, which form the basis of quantum computers being developed also by IBM and Google, amongst others.  Glasgow are the largest experimental group working in this area within the UK and have unique access to the leading nanofabrication centre JWNC with an established commercial unit KNT to provide components for quantum computing. The areas being developed by the University of Glasgow include:

  • Materials and Nanofabrication of scaled superconducting quantum chips
  • Supporting cryogenic hardware for quantum computing
  • Classical cryogenic electronic for control and readout of quantum processors


Our software capabilities spread between The University of Edinburgh Quantum Informatics Group, which is the largest of its kind in the UK, and the University of Strathclyde, which specialises in specific connections to near-term hardware. We are also developing links to classical high-performance computing with leading expertise in the Edinburgh Performance Computing Centre.

Our expertise encompasses both application-driven software:

  • Quantum simulation, with applications to materials science and quantum chemistry
  • Variational quantum algorithms and optimisation tasks
  • Quantum Machine Learning and advantage in near-term Quantum computers: Generative Modelling, Optimisation, Quantum Circuit Compilation, Variational Quantum Algorithms
  • Quantum Cyber Security: Post-quantum security, Quantum Cryptanalysis, Secure Cloud Computing, Quantum e-voting, Quantum Digital Signatures, Quantum Hardware Security

and elements of the full underpinning software stack for quantum computing:

  • Quantum Programming Languages: Semantics, Graphical Calculi, Circuit Optimisation
  • Benchmarking, testing and verification of quantum technologies: Verification of Quantum Computation and quantum advantage, Randomised Benchmarking of digital and analogue devices
  • Quantum Systems/Architectures and quantum internet: Networked Quantum Computation and Communication Architectures, Entanglement Distribution, Quantum Routing

These areas are designed to take advantage of the features of a range of Quantum computing hardware and simulation architectures.


Scotland’s Universities all provide advice and support to the UK National Quantum Computing programme covering both the main hardware development platforms, algorithms and software development.  This expertise is not just for academic interest, the practical application to “real-world” and industrial problems is our main goal.

For most of industry the challenge is learning enough about Quantum Computing and its applications to judge when to invest and how to best to do this.  Working with Scotland’s Universities is a great way of starting this journey and ensuring that your company is at the forefront of the radical changes in computational power that Quantum Computing brings.