image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionAI and quantum computing have transformed the way people live in recent years

A £210m centre aimed at developing the next generation of computers will help businesses "get ready for the future", the science minister has said.

Amanda Solloway said the artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing centre in Daresbury, Cheshire was "essential as we build back better".

The government will invest £172m over five years with a further £38m coming from computing giant IBM.

It is hoped the site will create 60 jobs and opportunities for students.

The centre will be run as a partnership between IBM and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

'Transforming our lives'

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the centre's aim was to make "cutting-edge technologies like AI and quantum computing more accessible to businesses and public sector organisations".

"As well as breaking down practical barriers to using new technologies, the [centre's] team of experts will also provide training and support to make sure the UK is at the forefront of the next generation of computing," he added.

Ms Solloway said quantum computing and AI were "not just far-fetched ideas, but real technologies that are already transforming our lives".

"The building blocks of everyday products like your laptop or your phone are already products of quantum technology, harnessing the unique ways that light and matter behave at tiny atomic or subatomic levels."

Prof Mark Thomson, STFC's executive chairman said that by "allowing industry to access a ready-made community of digital experts and cutting-edge technology, it will provide momentum for new ideas and solutions".

"This programme has the potential to transform the way UK industry engages with AI and digital technologies, to the benefit of not just research communities but all of society."

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