Quebec is investing $ 16 million in the digital shift of SMEs

The Digital and Quantum Innovation Platform (PINQ2) was launched this Thursday in Sherbrooke and will help SMEs in the healthcare, manufacturing, environmental and energy sectors in their digital transformation.

Published April 21

Isabelle Dube

Isabelle Dube
The press

Quebec is investing $ 16 million in this high-performance computer NPO that will offer Quebec SMEs a golden opportunity to take a major digital shift. PINQ2 will not only give them access to advanced software and experts, but above all at an affordable price and without financial risk.

“What is generally expensive are these phases of innovation, where we look for what it can add to a business model. Does it improve processes? The quality of the products? Service? said Éric Capelle, CEO of PINQ2, during a video interview.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY UNIVERSITY OF SHERBROOKE

Eric Capelle, CEO of PINQ2

We will mock the innovation of SMEs and accelerate their transformation.

Eric Capelle, CEO of PINQ2

The general manager says that 70 companies have already shown interest in the platform and that pilot projects are underway, especially in the field of industrial simulation. “We are working with a company that needs to switch from an internal combustion engine to an electric engine, and it needs to measure the impact on its production line,” he cites as an example.

At the end of a two-year digital transformation project, an SME will have the knowledge and skills needed to be completely autonomous, PINQ2 assures. About one hundred students from universities and CEGEPs in Quebec will be invited to participate in various projects in companies.

“The secret behind PINQ2 is that we want to encourage collaboration between the private and academic sectors through computers. We bring expertise to help companies while contributing to staff training,” said Vincent Aimez, a professor at the University of Sherbrooke and vice chancellor. for development and partnerships, in an interview.

World leader in quantum

Since Quebec is already well positioned on the world stage in the quantum domain, Vincent Aimez argues that we can not wait for this new technology to be ready to train the workforce.

“These are complex technologies that will work very differently from conventional machines. And they will not happen overnight. There will be small successes and hybrid technologies. We therefore have every interest in developing this know-how and at the same time helping companies to be compatible with artificial intelligence and then preparing them to be able to absorb the opportunities offered by quantum technologies. »

PINQ2 has been developed over the past year in collaboration with the University of Sherbrooke, which provided 1.6 million, and the Ministry of Economy and Innovation, which granted a grant of 16 million.

“Quebec is increasingly establishing itself as a leader in quantum science and technology. To continue on this path, we need the most advanced technologies, such as PINQ2, that enable innovation and connectivity between researchers and entrepreneurs,” he said. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister for Economic Affairs and Innovation.

There is also a long-standing collaboration between researchers and companies, remembers Marie-Paule Jeansonne, chair of Forum IA Québec. “The government’s support shows that we are aware of the benefits that these different technologies can bring with the productivity gains of, for example, artificial intelligence, and that we make the funds available to our companies to ensure that they adopt these technologies. ,” she says. said in an interview with The press.

Waiting for quantum for drug modeling

A start-up of drug modeling asked PINQ2 for help in simulating protein molecules faster and cheaper. It currently takes more than a month to process, and prices range from $ 500,000 to $ 1 million.

“We have a new generation of technologies on the way, other generations of processors going 7 to 10 times faster than we know. It is an intermediary between what is today and the technologies of the future, quantum. So we want to experiment with start up. The technology will be ready for use in the next few months, ”says Éric Capelle.

PINQ2 will be operational in October 2022. It plans to carry out 50 projects a year, led by high-level students and experts.

“The salaries are good enough to attract talent, and with the mission we offer, we have an appeal. To say that we will start to be interested in quantum technology in the coming months attracts talent, ”concludes Éric Capelle.

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