The European Joint Undertaking for High Performance Computing (EuroHPC Joint Undertaking) has announced the selection of the six centers that will host Europe’s first quantum computers, which will be located in Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Poland.
These computers will be integrated with existing supercomputers in these facilities and will form a large network across Europe. €100 million, half of which will come from the EU and the other half from the 17 countries participating in the EuroHPC joint venture. Wherever they are in Europe, researchers and other interested professionals will have access to these six quantum computers built using state-of-the-art European technology.
The new quantum computers will also meet the growing demand from European research and industry for quantum computing resources and potential new services. They will be able to solve complex problems in areas such as health, climate change, logistics or energy consumption in hours, compared to months and years for current systems, all with much less energy consumption.
Margrethe VestagerExecutive Vice-President in charge of the Digital Europe portfolio, said: “This is an example of a European project par excellence. By pooling our resources and skills, we can take the initiative in an area that is essential for the future of our digital society. It contributes to our fight against climate change and allows us to take an important step towards realizing our vision of a world-class supercomputing and quantum computing infrastructure in Europe, accessible throughout the EU”.
The new quantum computers are expected to be available at all six centers by the second half of 2023. They will support a wide range of applications of industrial, scientific and societal interest for Europe :
- The much faster and more efficient development of new drugs through the creation of a “digital twin” of a human body on which, for example, virtual drug trials can be carried out.
- Solve complex logistical and organizational problems to help companies save time and fuel.
- Develop and test, in a virtual environment, new materials such as polymers for airplanes, catalytic converters for cars, solar cells or room-temperature superconductors that could store energy indefinitely.
These new quantum computers are a step closer to achieving the goals of the digital decade, namely have our first quantum-accelerated computer by 2025 and be at the forefront of quantum capabilities by 2030.
This is a purely European initiative : these machines will be made entirely of European hardware and software, using European technology developed through EU-funded quantum initiatives or through national research programs and private investment.
The move announced today is part of a much broader initiative where the EU is working to integrate European quantum computers and simulators as accelerators into its supercomputer infrastructure. Other quantum computers will be acquired in the future.
To further the development of quantum computing and, more specifically, quantum softwarethe Commission plans to establish centers of excellence for science and industry that will focus on both research and industrial uses of quantum computers and simulators.
These centers, which are aimed at all professionals in the quantum industrythe research community and the wider quantum user community, will be a benchmark for industrial and research quantum applications, providing services, support and libraries to organizations across Europe, the same way than the existing centers of excellence for high performance computing.
The seventeen countries participating in this quantum initiative of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking are: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and Norway
European Joint Undertaking for High Performance Computing
The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC Joint Undertaking) is a legal and funding entity created in 2018 to enable the EU and EuroHPC participating countries to coordinate their efforts and pool their resources in the goal of making Europe a world leader in supercomputing. In July 2021, the Council adopted the EuroHPC regulation, which generated an additional investment of €7 billion.
The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking has already funded the Hybrid High Performance Computing and Quantum Simulator (HPCQS) projectwhich started at the end of 2021. The goal of this project is to integrate two quantum simulators, each controlling just over 100 quantum bits (cubits), into two existing supercomputers:
- The Joliot Curie supercomputer of GENCI, the French national supercomputing organization, located in France;
- The JUWELS supercomputer at the Jülich Supercomputing Center in Germany.
The HPCQS project will thus become a unique hybrid quantum supercomputer incubator in the world.
Flagship initiative on quantum technologies
In 2016, European quantum computing stakeholders published the Quantum Manifesto, which in 2018 led to the launch of the €1 billion EU-funded collaborative research and innovation initiative over 10 years: the Quantum Flagship Initiative.
The next phase of the flagship initiative on quantum technologies (funded by Horizon Europe) starts now. It will consolidate and extend European leadership in research on quantum technologies and bring research results closer to the industrial exploitation stage.
Quantum flagship projects create and develop technologies for downstream activitiessuch as the implementation of quantum computers and simulators in EuroHPC or the implementation of a quantum key distribution (QKD) infrastructure in the European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI) initiative.