Quantum Code Design and Architecture

General purpose quantum computers must follow a fault-tolerant design to prevent ubiquitous decoherence processes from corrupting computations. All approaches to fault-tolerance demand extra physical hardware to perform a quantum computation. Kitaev’s surface, or toric,code is a popular idea that has captured the hearts and minds of many hardware developers, and has given many people hope that fault-tolerant quantum computation is a realistic prospect.

Major industrial hardware developers include Google, IBM, and Intel. They are all currently working toward a fault-tolerant architecture based on the surface code. Unfortunately, however, detailed resource analysis points towards substantial hardware requirements using this approach, possibly millions of qubits for commercial applications. Therefore,improvements to fault-tolerant designs are a pressing near-future issue. This is particularly crucial since sufficient time is required for hardware developers to react and adjust course accordingly.

This consortium will initiate a European co-ordinated approach to designing a new generation of codes and protocols for fault-tolerant quantum computation. The ultimate goal is thedevelopment of high-performance architectures for quantum computers that offer significant reductions in hardware requirements; hence accelerating the transition of quantum computing from academia to industry. Key directions developed to achieve these improvements include:the economies of scale offered by large blocks of logical qubits in high-rate codes; and the exploitation of continuous-variable degrees of freedom.The project further aims to build a European community addressing these architectural issues, so that a productive feedback cycle between theory and experiment can continue beyond the lifetime of the project itself. Practical protocols and recipes resulting from this project are anticipated to become part of the standard arsenal for building scalable quantum information processors.


  • Coordinator: Earl Campbell (University of Sheffield, UK)
  • Dan Browne (University College London, UK)
  • Robert Koenig (Technical University of Munich, DE)
  • Anthony Leverrier (Centre de Recherche Inria de Paris, FR)
  • Barbara Terhal (Delft University of Technology, NL)

MID-TERM REPORTING: Presentation of the mid-term results of the project

FINAL REPORTING: Presentation of the final results of the project

Call year

Call 2017

Call topic


Area of research

Quantum computation

Start date

February 2018


36 (+9) months

Funding support

€ 1 246 965,40

Project status