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A suitable space was designed for Finland’s first quantum computer

A suitable space was designed for Finland’s first quantum computer

10.11.2022 – Quantum computers are computers currently under development, the computing power of which promises answers to tasks which are currently impossible. The Granlund data center team was responsible for the design and construction management of the space for IQM’s quantum computer.

Industries
Data centers
Services
Construction management and supervision, HVAC design, Electrical design, Building automation design
Locations
Finland
Picture: IQM

Quantum computers function in a quantum state where the laws of physics no longer apply. Instead, reality is built based on the laws of particle physics and quantum mechanics. When it comes to quantum computers, we no longer talk of bits, but rather qubits, which can be in superposition, that is, in several states simultaneously. The operating principle is completely different from everyday computers.

“That is why, in the future, it will be possible to solve the kinds of computational problems that are otherwise almost completely impossible,” says Juha Vartiainen, chief operating officer at IQM. The computing power of quantum computers can, in certain tasks, be thousands of times greater than that of servers in data centres or even supercomputers.

In the future, it will be possible to solve the kinds of computational problems that are otherwise almost completely impossible.

Juha Vartiainen, IQM

The largest developer of superconductive quantum computers in Europe, IQM, delivered Finland’s first quantum computer to VTT in 2022. During its first years of operations, the company’s quantum equipment design team has grown to almost one hundred people, and there have been results as well: IQM and VTT got the quantum computer ready for operations in Otaniemi, Espoo. “Only a dozen or so other nations in the world have managed to do the same.”

Comprehensive competence in space modification

In order for the quantum computer to work, it must be placed in a specific kind of space. IQM wanted to ensure the modification of an existing data centre space with the support of Granlund. “From Granlund, we needed comprehensive competence and responsibility for altering the space to suit our needs,” says Vartiainen.

HVAC, electricity and building automation design was based on a Technical Due Diligence (TDD) survey. “In this way, we could make sure, together with the client, that the space will be suitable for a quantum computer,” says Juuso Saari from Granlund’s data center department. Extensive demolition work was done in the space, and the condition and need for replacement of every existing system was assessed on a case-by-case basis.

From Granlund, we needed comprehensive competence and responsibility for altering the space to suit our needs.

Juha Vartiainen, IQM

During the modification of the space, the management of the whole was in the hands of Granlund’s construction management and supervision experts, but the client also had an important role to play. “After all, they are the real quantum technology specialists,” Saari emphasises. Cooperation with the pioneer of the field was a memorable experience. “Rarely do we get to work on such a futuristic project together with those who have doctorates in technology.”

Strict requirements for conditions

In the design of the quantum computer space it was important to take care of the needs of a data center. Also some elements typical to cleanrooms needed to be taken in account. According to Saari, the most important thing was to achieve the desired conditions as well as sufficient fault tolerance in order to protect the devices and operational time. “A good example is the redundancy of the cooling and electricity systems: if one device fails, another will take over.”

The operations of the more critical devices was ensured with a UPS system, which guarantees a fully uninterrupted power supply. Other systems were protected from power outages with auxiliary power. Quantum computers are also vulnerable to vibrations, which can be blocked using, for example, rubber mats, reinforcement of the foundations and active vibration dampers. “They compensate for vibrations the same way active hearing protectors do for sound,” Saari explains.

The completed quantum computer space resembles a sci-fi film. The space is filled with cables, cooling devices and compressors, the lights flash and a pumping sound echoes in the background. “On the other hand, people work in the space, and they have perfectly practical needs,” Saari says. So, the designers also took care of the permitted noise levels, lighting, sufficient heat and ventilation.

Vartiainen is pleased with the final result. “We received the competence we needed, and the project remained on schedule without any surprises.”

Want to hear more?

Juuso Saari

Senior consultant
Granlund Oy

IQM Finland

  • Europe’s largest developer of superconductive quantum computers
  • Brought the first quantum computer to Finland in 2020
  • Turnover of EUR 2.6 million (2021)
  • One of the world’s largest quantum equipment design teams, about 90 people
  • Head office in Otaniemi, Espoo

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