IFIP Working Group on Foundations of Quantum Computation

WG 1.11 / 2.17

Mission Statement

Arguably quantum computing is coming of age. With the race for quantum rising between major IT players, and the announcement of new prototype, proof-of-concept machines, it seems we are in the verge of a real shift. For the first time the viability of quantum computing may be demonstrated in a number of real problems extremely difficult to handle, if possible at all, classically, and its utility discussed across industries. In a sense, Feynman’s dream of letting Nature, suitably engineered, compute for us through its own natural quantum behaviour, seems to be closer, even if the project of a universal quantum computer still has a long way to go. In the somehow emphatic language of the media, a ‘second quantum revolution’ is quickly approaching. It is characterised by the ability to harness weird quantum phenomena, namely superposition, interference and entanglement, as computational resources, with practical advantage. In this move the role of software, and its foundations and engineering, cannot be underestimated.
The conceptualisation of quantum computing predated its technological realisation: in a way physicists are making it happen. Similarly, in the 1930’s, Turing machines anticipated digital computers. It seems history is repeating itself. Differently, however, from what happened before, we have now the chance to get theory in place before technologies emerge and popularise. IFIP cannot be strange to this challenge.
Such is the aim of this new Working Group. Operating under both TC1 and TC2, it will be oriented towards the development of foundations and rigorous, mathematical methods for Quantum Computer Science, including the theory and methods of quantum information science, quantum computation and quantum software engineering, and its application to strategic, emerging problem-areas. Furthermore, fulfilling its mandate as an IFIP technical asset, the new WG will contribute to the scientific and technical development of this new dimension of Computer Science.

Research Topics

  • Foundational structures for quantum computing

  • Quantum programming languages (including quantum assembly languages and quantum gate languages)

  • Semantics of quantum programming languages

  • Quantum algorithms

  • Quantum calculi and logics

  • Formal specification, design and development methods for quantum software

  • Test, analysis and verification of quantum programs

  • Rewriting and automated reasoning with applications to quantum compilation and optimisation

  • Quantum software engineering

  • Architectures for quantum and hybrid computing

  • Hybrid quantum systems

  • Quantum data science

  • Applications and tools

Context and dynamics

The Working Group on Foundations of Quantum Computation is established under two IFIP Technical Committees: TC1, on Foundations of Computer Science, and TC2, on Software: Theory and Practice, with formal responsibility of TC1. As usual within IFIP, the new WG acquires an identifier from both Technical Committees, becoming WG 1.11/2.17.

The WG is initially composed of approx. 20 members, currently active in the field and representative of its diversity. Over time, the WG will co-opt other researchers and define its own programme and dynamics in an autonomous way. Similarly to what happens in other IFIP Working Groups, this may include a WG technical meeting (typically every 9 - 12 months) and the organization of international events, workshops or conferences. The new WG will comply with the IFIP regulations, namely as stated in its Bylaws (sections 4.2.7 and 4.2.8).

A close articulation with the Domain Committee on Quantum Computation, recently approved by IFIP, is envisaged, namely in terms of exchange of relevant information concerning events and publications, as well as possible joint initiatives.
IFIP is a non-governmental, non-profit umbrella organization for national societies working in the field of information processing. It was established in 1960 under the auspices of UNESCO as a result of the first World Computer Congress held in Paris in 1959. Formally recognised by the United Nations, IFIP represents IT Societies from over 38 countries or regions, covering all five continents with a total membership of over half a million, and linking more than 3500 scientists from Academia and Industry, organized in about one hundred Working Groups reporting to 13 Technical Committees. Through them, as well as in its multiple initiatives, it aims at

  • identifying research priorities, stimulating theoretical work on fundamental issues and  promoting fundamental research which will underpin future developments;

  • fostering cooperative action, collaborative research and information exchange;

  • providing a forum for professionals and encouraging interdisciplinary work;

  • paying a special attention to the needs of developing countries and promoting the UN international agenda on sustainable development.



  • Shaukat Ali, Simula Oslo, Norway

  • Miriam Backens, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

  • Luis Barbosa, University of Minho & United Nations University, Portugal

  • Ross Duncan, Cambridge Quantum, United Kingdom

  • Jozef Gruska, Masaryk University, Czech Republic

  • Chris Heunen, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

  • Aleks Kissinger, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

  • Shane Mansfield, Quandela, France

  • Mio Murao, University of Tokyo, Japan

  • Tobias Osborne, University of Hanover, Germany

  • Anna Pappa, TU Berlin, Germany

  • Francesco Petruccione, NITheCS, South Africa

  • Luis Paulo Santos, Universidade do Minho, Portugal

  • Ina Schaefer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

  • Peter Selinger, Dalhousie University, Canada

  • Rui Soares Barbosa, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Portugal

  • Mingsheng Ying, Tsinghua University, China

  • Michael Walter, Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany

  • Bruce Watson, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

  • Robert Wille, Technical University of Munich, Germany

  • Stefan Woerner, IBM, Zurich, Switzerland

  • Xiaodi Wu, University of Maryland, USA

  • Benoît Valiron, CentraleSupélec (Université Paris-Saclay) & CNRS, France

  • Vedran Dunjko, Leiden University, The Netherlands

  • Vladimir Zamdzhiev, INRIA / LMF, France

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