Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Germany’s first quantum computer launched
Europe’s most powerful quantum computer is in the south of Germany – now it is officially presented. The federal government is investing two billion euros over the next four years. Chancellor Merkel expects many developments, but above all independence from major nations.
The most powerful quantum computer ever built on European soil has been unveiled in Ehningen, Baden-Württemberg. The “IBM Quantum System One” system, operated by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the American company IBM, was first introduced to the public. Chancellor Angela Merkel described quantum computers as a “shining flagship” for Germany as an IT space.
Merkel, who attended the ceremony from Berlin, said the task now is to make the research results available for economic applications as quickly as possible. In the United States and China, in particular, vast amounts of money are being invested in technology. At the same time, it pointed out that even in Germany, government aid to the sector should increase by “an additional two billion euros” by 2025.
Even though development is still at the beginning, quantum technology could have great “disruptive potential,” Merkel said concerning breakthroughs in secure communications or medical technology, logistics and materials research, or stabilization of critical security infrastructure.
Cubits instead of just zeros and ones
Quantum computers can be many times more powerful than conventional computers because they are not based on binary systems, but on so-called qubits, which can theoretically assume an infinite number of states. Merkel emphasized that with the help of quantum technology, specific calculations can be done in a matter of moments, which can sometimes take hundreds of years in conventional computers.
Fraunhofer president Reimund Neugebauer described the quantum computer as a “milestone on the path to technological sovereignty”. According to the research company and IBM, the 27 qubit system is “Europe’s most powerful quantum computer in industrial terms”. It aims to provide a secure research platform to companies and institutions, for example to test applications.
IBM and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft signed an agreement in March 2020 to advance research on quantum computers in Germany – even after being brokered by Merkel. As of now, Germany still has no quantum computers built entirely without technology from abroad. After all, German mid-sized companies Trumpf and Sick are considered the leading information carriers in terms of quantum optical sensors. In addition to its US competitor Google, IBM has so far been a leader in the field of quantum computers.
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