How does collaboration work in an interdisciplinary research center such as the KQCBW?
Wellens — Collaboration is going well and exchanges are taking place beyond the project boundaries. The individual Fraunhofer institutes and universities are in some cases part of several projects, which results in synergies. Some research questions arise in different projects, such as error mitigation or optimization of the QAOA algorithm, which ultimately allows everyone to benefit from each other.
Tutschku — A special feature of the cooperation in the KQCBW is, above all, its spirit. The people in the competence center work together closely and with a special motivation. They accept the current state of the technology and improve it together. In the process, everyone works very openly and closely with each other. This is not to be taken granted, since people in research often keep a low profile before publications, and a competitive mentality prevails. In the competence center, there is a special trust in each other — people share ideas and talk openly about them. This creates a very innovative environment.
Looking back on almost three years of Competence Center: What is your highlight?
Wellens — We have formed strong consortia in which many parties come together to conduct joint research in collaborative projects. To have laid this foundation is a highlight for me. In the projects themselves, we have made a lot of progress. I hope that we will continue to get exciting results that showcase how great the competences are that we have built up. The ›one‹ big scientific highlight is still to come, but we are on the way.
Tutschku — We had many highlights, but the Developer Conference that we held in the fall of 2021 was very special for me. As far as I know, there has never been a conference like this before, neither in Baden-Württemberg nor in Germany. Quantum computing researchers from software and hardware met openly over two days. Feeling the spirit at the event, how more than 80 highly educated researchers gathered and pulled together, was amazing. Being part of this showed me that it is not a question of if, but when something really big is going to happen in the field of quantum computing in Baden-Württemberg.