Priority Programme 2514: Quantum Software, Algorithms and Systems

Quantum Software, Algorithms and Systems: Concepts, Methods and Tools for the Quantum Software Stack

Quantum computers promise applications in the solution of computational problems beyond classical means. In recent years, quantum hardware has been developed that takes steps towards achieving intermediate-scale quantum devices. However, to eventually utilise this potential of the emerging quantum hardware, foundational research in method development is required, as similar to classical computing also in quantum computing value will be created by software. This priority programme takes an interdisciplinary ansatz combining ideas of computer science, physics, mathematics and engineering into a concerted effort towards developing methodological building blocks along the complete quantum software stack. The priority programme is rooted in concepts of quantum physics and driven by physical desiderata. It aims at investigating and evaluating foundational concepts, methods and tools to facilitate the fulfilment of the aforementioned potential, and to overcome road blocks against developing a full stack for quantum computing.

To achieve this goal, we need a concerted effort to build an interdisciplinary research community for a methodological and systematic approach in quantum algorithms, software and systems engineering. This research community will be truly grounded in excellent foundations in theoretical and experimental physics and quantum technology and embrace computer science and computer engineering principles. This priority programme brings together researchers from different disciplines, including computer science, physics, mathematics and engineering. This is mandatory because of the highly interdisciplinary nature of quantum computing being rooted in quantum physics, both theoretical and experimental, and spanning from electrical engineering and systems design to software engineering and algorithmics. We need to start now developing design and engineering concepts and methods for the quantum software stack to be ready when the quantum hardware platforms are ready.


The objectives of this priority programme are divided in five research areas, which contain several research topics as briefly outlined in the following.

  • RA1: Quantum algorithmic foundations and roots in quantum physics. This area lays algorithmic foundations, and investigates computational models, complexity theory as well as error correction and mitigation. It focuses on building the connection between quantum physics and computation.
  • RA2: Quantum programming environments and SDKs. This work area is concerned with representation of quantum algorithms in programming language abstractions, as well as with the integration of quantum algorithms into classical and high-performance computing. Furthermore, development principles, guidelines and processes are part of this work area.
  • RA3: Compilation and runtime infrastructures. The focus of this research area is on methods and tools required to map and execute a quantum program to an actual hardware platform. This includes adaptive platform selection, platform-specific and technology-aware compilation techniques.

  • RA4: Quantum systems co-design and engineering. The focus of this area is on methods and tools for designing and engineering QC systems, as well as co-designing quantum software and hardware. This includes EDA methods for quantum hardware as well as hardware/software co-design.

  • RA5: Benchmarking, analysis and simulation. This research area comprises the cross-cutting validation and verification approaches specifically tailored to (hybrid) quantum computing and systems.

The research areas described above provide a frame of reference for the planned research and the envisaged connections between the results of different projects. Building a single joint quantum software stack is not intended, as the methodological contributions of the projects will target different physical hardware realisations (such as gate-based or beyond gate-based platforms) which (partially) need different concepts along the quantum software stack.

However, clusters of projects are expected to cooperate to connect their building blocks for vertical prototypes to demonstrate their capabilities towards a more advanced quantum software stack on existing quantum hardware platforms.


Collaborative efforts will involve (a) joint projects in which at least two groups with complementary expertise work together and simultaneously offer at least one specialised technology or area of knowledge to the other partners, (b) joint activities, involving regular meetings, an annual retreat, a regular virtual seminar series for PhD students, and the formation of interdisciplinary working groups, (c) a quantum hardware platform developer board, which involves experts from physics with expertise in building quantum hardware, ideally PIs involved in the scientific projects, but also external experts, (d) Distinguished lecture series and workshops, which may align with the needs of specific project clusters to integrate their ideas with a specific quantum hardware technology, and (e) Interdisciplinary training, which involves a Quantum Software Summer School to train and support PhD students and postdocs towards successful research in their projects and future research careers.

Coordination and programme board

The coordinator of the priority programme is Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ina Schaefer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Full Professor, Software Engineering

The programme board is comprised of

  • Prof. Dr. Jens Eisert, Free University Berlin (FUB), Full Professor, Quantum Computing and Quantum Information Theory

  • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Mauerer, Technical University of Applied Sciences Regensburg (OTH), Professor, Quantum Computer Science

  • Prof. Dr. Martin Schulz, Technical University of Munich (TUM-CAPS) and Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), Full Professor, Computer Architecture and Parallel Systems

  • Prof. Dr. Robert Wille, Technical University of Munich (TUM-CDA), Full Professor, Design Automation

The priority programme will form a Young Investigators Network (YIN) to support young researchers on personal and professional level (coordinated by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Benedikt Fauseweh and Prof Dr. Michael Walter). It will establish informal exchange and networking formats for the young researchers involved in the priority programme, as well as career mentoring.

Online Briefing for Applicants

For potential applications, we will hold an online briefing via Zoom on Monday, 29 July 2024, from 11:00-12:30. We will introduce the structure of the SPP, illustrate the typical proposal and have a Q&A session.

To register for the online briefing and receive the Zoom link, please register here:

Planned timeline


Prof. Dr.-Ing Ina Schaefer, ina.schaefer∂