European long-term vision in research on quantum technologies is to develop EU-wide quantum internet with computers, simulators and sensors which are interconnected via quantum communication networks. New quantum computers will be capable of solving complex problems relating to such vital areas as health, climate change, logistics, or energy usage in a matter of hours, rather than the current months and years needed by today’s systems, all while consuming far less energy.
New quantum computers represent a step forward reaching the goals of the Union’s Digital Decade by installing EU’s first computers with quantum acceleration by 2025, as well as being on the cutting edge of quantum capabilities by 2030. It is notable, that this quantum computers are, actually purely European initiative: these machines consist entirely of European hardware and software, leveraging European technology developed under EU-funded quantum initiatives, national research programs and private investments.
In 2016, European quantum stakeholders published Quantum Manifesto, which has led in 2018 to the launch a 10-year EU-funded with €1 billion, collaborative research and innovation initiative called Quantum Technologies Flagship.
= The Quantum Manifesto called upon the EU states and the European Commission to launch a €1 billion Flagship-scale Initiative in Quantum Technology in order to start in 2018 within a new EU-2020 research and innovation framework program. This initiative aimed at placing Europe at the forefront of the second worldwide quantum revolution bringing transformative advances to science, industry and society.
It would create new commercial opportunities addressing global challenges, providing strategic capabilities for security and open-up yet unimaginable capabilities for the future. As is now happening around the world, developing European-wide quantum technologies will create a new knowledge-based industrial system, leading to long-term economic, scientific and societal benefits. It will result in a more sustainable, more productive, more entrepreneurial and more secure European Union.
= The Quantum Technologies Flagship aims to support the work of quantum researchers in the EU; following the Quantum Manifesto in 2016, the flagship was launched in 2018, bringing together research institutions, industry and public funders to consolidate and expand European scientific leadership and excellence in quantum technologies. Its goal is to support the transformation of European research into commercial applications that make full use of the disruptive potential of quantum.
In the first flagship’s phase (October 2018-September 2021), with a budget of €152 million, for 24 projects four core application areas have been chosen: – quantum computing, – quantum simulation, – quantum communication, and – quantum metrology and sensing.
It also funds research into the basic science behind quantum technologies, as well as education and international cooperation activities in quantum technologies.
Two prominent projects were developed during the Flagship’s first phase have been highlighted: a) OpenSuperQ, a quantum computer system of globally competitive performance based on integrated electric circuits made from superconducting metals (available at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany; and b) AQTION, a first-of-its-kind trapped ion system; one of the most notable features of this system is that it is powered from a single wall-mounted plug and with an extremely low power consumption of 1.5 kW (it uses the amount of energy needed to boil a kettle). Source: https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/quantum-technologies-flagship
Six states in the EU-wide quantum computer network
On the 4th of October 2022, the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) has announced the selection of six sites that will host the first European quantum computers: in Czechia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Poland. They will be integrated on site into existing supercomputers, and will form a wide network across Europe. The total planned investment is over €100 million, half of which comes from the EU and the other half from the 17 countries participating in the EuroHPC JU. Academic researchers, industry and services in Europe will be able to access these six quantum computers modern technology.
The 17 EuroHPC JU participating countries in this quantum initiative are: Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
The new quantum computers are expected to be available in the mentioned six countries by the second half of 2023. They will support a wide range of applications with industrial, scientific and societal relevance for Europe providing, e.g.:
• Much faster and efficient development of new medicines, with the creation of a ‘digital twin’ of a human body upon which it would be possible, for example, to conduct virtual drug trials.
• Solving complex logistic and scheduling problems to help companies save time and fuel.
• Developing and testing in virtual environment new materials like polymers for airplanes, catalytic converters for cars and solar cells, or room-temperature superconductors that could store energy indefinitely.
To further develop quantum computing, more specifically quantum software, the Commission is planning to establish Centers of Excellence for Science and Industry focusing on both academic and industrial usage of wider quantum technologies; the centers will provide services, support and libraries to organisations in Europe in a similar way to the current High-Performance Computing Centers of Excellence.
More information in the following Commission weblinks: = EuroHPC JU press release: Selection of six sites to host the first European quantum computers; = Quantum; = Quantum Technologies Flagship; and = EuroQCI initiative.