Microsoft Research

Project AIM 

We are part of the EU Pathfinder Challenge Horizon Project

Heisingberg Project: Spatial Quantum Optical Annealer

Our group is part of  consortium of scientists from  Sapienza University of Rome, Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), UBITECH, and QUBITECH started working on the project under the EIC Pathfinder Challenge – HEISINGBERG. HEISINGBERG stands among the 8 funded projects responding to the call for “alternative approaches to Quantum Information Processing, Communication, and Sensing”. 

 This ambitious and innovative endeavour unites six proficient and complementary partners from five different EU regions, including Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, and the UK as an associated country in Horizon Europe. HEISINGBERG aims to elevate a state-of-the-art spatial photonic spin simulator to the quantum realm. This involves upgrading its coherent drive to non-classical light, enabling full programmability through vector-matrix multiplication schemes. The project integrates holography, ancillary spins, effective magnetic fields, and custom-tailored algorithms to achieve this transformation. 

The HEISINGBERG consortium brings together a dynamic collaboration between academia and the business world, blending expertise in quantum and photonic technologies with acute business acumen. Over the next 48 months, the consortium will pursue key objectives with partners such as Sapienza University of Rome, University of Cambridge (lead by Prof Natalia Berloff), Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), UBITECH, and QUBITECH. 

Through HEISINGBERG, the Consortium aims to develop a device dedicated to solving combinatorial optimization problems, with the implicit goal of commercializing a new quantum simulator paradigm. This paradigm leverages: a novel approach based on Holographic spin encoding; all-optical manipulation of interactions; all-to-all and weighted connectivity; straightforward scalability; room temperature operation; relatively low energy requirements

University of Cambridge group led by Professor Natalia Berloff  is responsible for development of  custom-tailored algorithms to optimise the annealing process employed by the software part of the machine. The group will develop HEISINGBERG solvers inspired by the principle of operation that are compatible with a hybrid quantum/classical implementation of the system. 

The project officially commenced on November 1, 2023, with all partners actively participating in the Project Kick-off Meeting held in Athens on November 10, 2023.