France and the Netherlands join forces in the race for quantum technologies – EURACTIV.com

France and the Netherlands signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday (August 31) with the aim of intensifying synergies for research and development of quantum technologies, confirming their place in the race to build supercomputers.

No one wants to miss the quantum shift. On the sidelines of the meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Paris, a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in quantum technologies was signed by the French Foreign Minister for Digital, Cédric O, and the Dutch Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. Affairs and Climate Policy, Mona Keijzer.

The goal? ” A European quantum ecosystem that gives us jobs, income and innovation “according to Mrs Keijzer, who on this occasion wished to emphasize that ” The Netherlands and France have been at the forefront of this field for years, and in order to maintain this international lead, it is necessary to work together at European level. “.

Same story on the French side: ” Between the national quantum plans of France, the Netherlands and other European countries and the European Commission’s programs, Europe is by far the world’s leading quantum investor.rejoiced MO

In particular, the agreement allows for more cooperation in research, more cooperation also with large technology companies, investments to develop the ecosystem, acceleration of already existing European initiatives and the creation of jobs in the field. – with the launch of a common portal that brings together job opportunities, quantumjobs.fr and quantumjobs.nl.

Leading advantage

The quantum computer is a technology that is still in its infancy and whose practical applications today are limited. But in the long run, its impact should be revolutionary in many areas: health, mobility, innovation, defense, etc.

Countries investing in quantum computers at an early stage could therefore enjoy a cutting edge. In this competition, the EU starts with a strong community of researchers.

European academic research in quantum technologies has a very good level worldwide and is still well distributed in European countries “, Explains Philippe Duluc, CTO Big Data and Security at Atos, one of the French masters of technology.

This new generation of supercomputers will be able to overcome the limitations of classical computing thanks to quantum mechanics (the field of physics studying atomic and subatomic particles) by performing a far greater number of operations simultaneously.

This race is a marathon and not a sprint. I think it will take about ten years before quantum computers and quantum networks bring a real benefit to end users. “nevertheless, the physicist Stéphanie Wehner, from the organization Quantum Internet Alliance (QIA), specifies to EURACTIV France.

A market that could also pay off big. In a report released by the Boston Consulting Group in July, the consulting firm estimates that quantum computers could generate $ 450 to $ 850 billion over the next 15 to 30 years.

Greater cooperation between Member States is definitely a step in the right direction. “, notes Mrs. Wehner. ” We welcome this opportunity to promote the emergence of a deep quantum ecosystem in Europe, bringing together academics, industrialists, startups, financiers, both on the technology side and on the user side. “explains Christophe Jurczak, co-founder of the investment fund Quantonation and the association Le Lab quantique, to EURACTIV France.

retain the talent

However, for European champions to emerge, such an alliance is not enough if it is not followed by greater and more targeted funding for quantum technologies across Europe. “, temperament Mrs. Wehner of QIA. ” Long-term efforts are just as important as short-term ones ”she says and defends a more global strategy to promote innovation in Europe.

en ” real challenge ” according to her, since this critically depends on a change in mentality and the creation of a more entrepreneurial culture among young researchers ”. It thus calls for more training in entrepreneurship on the academic paths of future researchers.

Same observation for quantonation: ” More startups must be created in the next few years ”Mr Jurczak notes and adds that ” these startups must have the ability to become global players “. Talent training and the ability to keep them in Europe “ will also be basic”, according to him.

The main priority of public authorities should be to invest in software development and quantum applications., notes Mr. Duluc of Atos. ” Now that we’re seeing the first quantum accelerators (known as NISQ: Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum) arrive in the short term, we need to think about quantum uses and applications. “he adds, fearing that a ” shortage of industrial end-users “ prevents the quantum industry from evolving.

In January, the French government unveiled its € 1.8 billion plan aimed at making the country one of the world’s leading powers in the field.

The national quantum plans announced in recent years (such as the French plan announced by Emmanuel Macron in January last year) make it possible to structure public / private efforts and provide real concrete content to these alliances. ”notes Mr Duluc.

This bilateral initiative, signed this week, is part of a broader European effortus around the issue of digital sovereignty, or “strategic autonomy”, vis-à-vis the United States and China. The goal that Brussels defends in its digital compass by 2030 : has its first quantum computer in 2025.

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