US-Irish partnership gets €3m to lay foundations of the quantum internet

25 Jul 2022

Image: © Bartek Wróblewski/

Working with teams in the US and Northern Ireland, two Irish research centres aim to link quantum computers together to boost their power.

A partnership between four research centres in the US and the island of Ireland has received €3m in funding to accelerate the creation of a quantum internet.

The CoQREATE (Convergent Quantum Research Alliance in Telecommunications) project includes Connect, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre for future networks and communications based in Trinity College Dublin, as well as SFI photonics centre IPIC.

The investment will create at least 10 research positions to investigate technologies that will form the foundation of a quantum internet.

Quantum computers have the potential to perform many computing tasks faster than classical computers. It is believed that in the near future, these machines will solve problems that are impossible for classical computers to solve with today’s computing power.

The international partnership believes that linking quantum computers together over a quantum internet will lead to even greater computational power compared to individual quantum computers. A quantum internet could also enhance cybersecurity and lead to higher resolution sensors.

As well as Connect and IPIC, the CoQREATE project includes the US Center for Quantum Networks and the quantum technology group at Queen’s University Belfast.

Connect director Prof Dan Kilper said the joint project enables researchers to shape how quantum and classical networks will come together.

“It will also accelerate the transition of quantum technologies from basic science to engineered systems,” Kilper added. “And it’s especially important for us that the project considers the broader societal dimensions of these technologies to help build an inclusive and human centred foundation for the quantum internet.”

Funding for the project came from the US-Ireland R&D Partnership, which involves funding agencies across the US, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

SFI deputy director general Dr Ciarán Seoighe said the work from this partnership seeks to address “key questions” in the area of telecoms, along with integrating network technologies and applications.

“I look forward to learning of its progress as it brings together different research communities to help realise the potential for quantum computing and transformative advances in science, industry, economy and society.”

Many organisations are looking at the possibilities of quantum tech.

Google recently made its Quantum Virtual Machine available to the public free of charge in a bid to help people learn quantum programming skills.

Earlier this month, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology took its first steps toward a new quantum-resistant standard in cryptography, selecting four encryption algorithms designed to withstand an assault from a quantum computer.

Updated, 8.44am, 26 July 2022: This article was updated to include further details of the project and the involvement of IPIC.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic