The NQIT Hub’s hardware development effort is guided by a plan for the system architecture, which itself is the subject of ongoing development.

The designs being considered by NQIT consist of a network of many small, reliable quantum systems, which cooperate to provide a coherent information processing platform. This modular approach places scalability at the forefront of the design requirements, and so promises to yield significant computing power sooner than a monolithic approach. At the same time, this approach will provide the versatility associated with computer networks.

To succeed, the plan for the architecture must determine performance requirements for each of the modular components, so that they perform optimally in the computational network. These requirements range from how well entanglement can be generated and purified by the devices, to the efficiency of photonic switches and photodetectors and the reliability of photonic memories. The components can then be used to provide the entanglement links necessary to link together the modules, allowing them to act in concert. With enough modules, we can then realise operations which no conventional computer could perform.