Germany’s leading institute for applied research, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft officially unveiled a 27-qubit quantum computer by IBM in Ehningen, close to Stuttgart on Tuesday. IBM’s Quantum System One is the fastest such computer in Europe.
A news report quoted the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who attended the event via a digital link as saying that quantum computing would not just drive economic growth, but also play a central role in Germany’s to retain “technological and digital sovereignty.”
The Ehningen quantum computer can handle 27 qubits simultaneously and will offer the existing high-tech industry in the region of Baden-Württemberg an opportunity to use high-performance computers for their application-oriented research and development.
This computer, the fastest such computer in Europe, is a part of the German national network with competence centres in seven German states. Eleven Fraunhofer Institutes are pooling together specialist expertise in these regional competence centres.
The state of Baden-Württemberg has budgeted up to 40 million euros by 2024 to the Fraunhofer-IBM initiative, mostly for joint projects with universities, non-university research organizations and associated industry partners.
Interestingly, all processed project and user data will remain in Germany at all times in accordance with the country’s data protection laws.
Last month, Germany announced that it will pump in two billion euros (USD 2.4 billion) towards creating a quantum computing ecosystem in the country. Its goal is to build a competitive quantum computer within the country in five years, and to create a network of companies developing cutting-edge applications in the field.
While the German science ministry will use 1.1 billion euros to support research and development, the economy ministry will spend 878 million euros backing practical applications.
IBM has about 30 such quantum computers in the United States and this is its first outside the US, signalling the expansion of the company’s quantum hardware infrastructure globally.