This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.
Today, the European High Performance Computing Joint Enterprise (EuroHPC JU) announced the selection of six locations to host the first European quantum computer: the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Poland. They will be integrated into existing supercomputers on-site and will form an extensive network across Europe. The total planned investment exceeds 100 million euros, half of which is from the EU and the other half from the 17 countries participating in the EuroHPC JU. Academic researchers and industry, no matter where they are located in Europe, will have access to the six quantum computers based on Europe’s most advanced technology.
The new quantum computer will also meet the growing demand for quantum computing resources and potential new services from industry and academia in Europe. They will be able to solve complex problems related to areas such as health, climate change, logistics or energy use in a few hours, rather than the current months and years required by today’s systems, while consuming much less energy.
Margaret inheritorEVP Europe Fit for the Digital Age said: “This is an example of an exceptional European project. With pooled resources and expertise, we can take a leadership role in areas that are critical to the future of our digital society. This helps us tackle climate change. This is in Europe An important step in the vision to deploy a world-class supercomputing and quantum computing infrastructure that can be used across the EU.”
The new quantum computers are expected to be available at the six locations mentioned above in the second half of 2023. They will support a wide range of applications relevant to European industry, science and society:
- Develop new drugs faster and more efficiently, creating human “digital twins” on which, for example, virtual drug trials can be conducted.
- Solve complex logistics and scheduling problems, helping companies save time and fuel.
- Develop and test new materials in a virtual environment, such as aircraft polymers, automotive catalytic converters, solar cells, or room-temperature superconductors that can store energy indefinitely.
These new quantum computers are a step toward helping us achieve our digital decade goal of having our first quantum-accelerated computer by 2025 and being at the forefront of quantum capabilities by 2030.
This is a purely European initiative: the machines will consist entirely of European hardware and software, using European technology developed under EU-funded quantum programmes, national research programmes and private investment.
Today’s announcement is part of a larger effort by the EU to integrate European quantum computers and simulators as accelerators into its supercomputing infrastructure. More quantum computers will be procured in the future. To further develop quantum computing, and more specifically, quantum software, the committee plans to establish centers of excellence for science and industry, focusing on academic and industrial use cases for quantum computers and simulators. Open to everyone from industry, academia and the wider quantum technology user community, these centres will be a reference for academic and industrial quantum applications, providing services, support and libraries to organisations in Europe in a manner similar to current high performance Center of Excellence in Computing.
The 17 EuroHPC JU participating countries of the quantum program are: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
European High Performance Computing Consortium
The European High Performance Computing Consortium (EuroHPC JU) is a legal and funding entity established in 2018 to enable the European Union and EuroHPC participating countries to coordinate efforts and pool resources to make Europe a world leader in supercomputing. In July 2021, the Council adopted the EuroHPC JU regulation, bringing in further investments of EUR 7 billion.
EuroHPC JU has funded the High Performance Computer and Quantum Simulator Hybrid Project (HPCQS), which will start in late 2021. The project aims to integrate two quantum simulators, each controlling about 100+ quantum bits (qubits), two already existing supercomputers:
- Supercomputer Joliot Curie of GENCI, the French national supercomputing organization in France;
- The JUWELS supercomputer at the Jülich Supercomputing Center in Germany.
In this way, HPCQS will become the world’s unique quantum supercomputing hybrid computing incubator.
Quantum Technology Flagship
In 2016, European quantum stakeholders published the Quantum Manifesto, which led to the launch in 2018 of the EU-funded 10-year, €1 billion collaborative research and innovation programme: Quantum Technology Flagship.
The next phase of the Quantum Flagship (funded by Horizon Europe) is being launched. It will consolidate and expand European research leadership in quantum technologies and bring research results closer to industrial development. The Quantum Flagship project creates and develops technologies for downstream activities, such as the deployment of quantum computers and simulators in EuroHPC, or the deployment of quantum key distribution (QKD) infrastructure in the European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI) initiative.