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Shaping Europe’s digital future


To unlock the transformative power of quantum, the EU should develop a solid industrial base that builds on its tradition of excellence in quantum research.

© European Commission

What is quantum


In the next few years, quantum technologies will make it possible to do things that simply cannot be done today. With quantum, we could be able to look far beneath the ground or under the sea and perform complex computational tasks, like modelling biomolecular and chemical reactions, that the most powerful supercomputers cannot currently manage. Quantum will help us send sensitive information safely to anywhere, and diagnose diseases more quickly and accurately by looking inside cells. In other words, quantum will solve problems that would take even today’s fastest computers hundreds of days, if not years.

In the first quantum revolution during the early twentieth century, scientists learned to understand and apply the properties of quantum mechanics – the interactions of molecules, atoms, and even smaller particles like photons and electrons. This ultimately allowed them to create transistors, lasers and microprocessors: foundational technologies for computers, telecommunications, satellite navigation, smartphones, modern medical diagnostics, and much more.

Now, the second quantum revolution is underway. Researchers can detect and manipulate individual particles and their physical interlinkages and interactions, and build new technologies and systems that make use of the properties of the underlying quantum mechanics. These developments have led to major technical advances in many different areas, including quantum computing, sensors, simulations, cryptography and telecommunications. A whole generation of new quantum technologies with the potential for far-reaching economic and societal impact is starting to emerge. Some are already in development, while many others will be developed in the coming decades.

The Quantum Technologies Flagship

Europe has a long tradition of excellence in quantum research. It is now crucial to develop a solid industrial base that builds on this tradition. Without coordinated research and funding efforts at European level, Europe would risk falling behind its global competitors.

To meet this challenge, the Quantum Technologies Flagship was launched in 2018. It is a large-scale, long-term research initiative with a budget of €1 billion funded by the EU that brings together research institutions, industry and public funders, consolidating and expanding European scientific leadership and excellence in this field.

Quantum computing

As part of the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), the Commission is now planning to build state-of-the-art pilot quantum computers by 2023. These computers would act as accelerators interconnected with the Joint Undertaking’s supercomputers, forming 'hybrid' machines that blend the best of quantum and classical computing technologies.

In October 2022, the EuroHPC JU announced the selection of six sites across the EU to host the first European quantum computers, which will be integrated into EuroHPC supercomputers. These newly acquired quantum computers will be based on purely state-of-the-art European technology and will be located at sites in Czechia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Poland. It totals €100 million, with 50% coming from the EU and 50% from 17 of the EuroHPC JU participating countries.

This will be the first step towards the deployment of a European Quantum Infrastructure, making the EU leaders in the quantum revolution. The quantum will be generally accessible to European users from science and industry via the cloud on a non-commercial basis. The infrastructure will be dedicated  to accelerate the creation of new knowledge and solutions to global societal challenges. Thanks to its massive computing capacity, it will address complex simulation and optimisation problems, especially in materials development, drug discovery, weather forecasting, transportation and other real-world problems of high importance to industry and society. Further synergies will be established between the EU and Member States over the coming years to further deploy a world-class quantum ecosystem and thus achieve our Digital Decade goal to deliver the first computer with quantum acceleration by 2025.

The European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI) Initiative

Since June 2019, all 27 EU Member States have signed the EuroQCI Declaration, agreeing to work together, with the Commission and with the support of the European Space Agency, towards the development of a quantum communication infrastructure covering the whole EU (EuroQCI). 

Discover more about EuroQCI.

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