5 August 2021
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With quantum start-ups now appearing across the globe and tech giants such as IBM edging ever closer towards large-scale quantum computers, the quantum revolution appears to be at our doorstep. Indeed, the global market for quantum technologies could soon reach an impressive $22 billion. However, in addition to the vast research and investment dedicated to this technology, a true quantum revolution will require a ‘quantum-ready’ workforce capable of translating this into wide-spread commercialisation.

The recent arrival of the ‘IBM Quantum System One’ quantum computer at the Fraunhofer Institute is set to accelerate Europe’s path towards quantum-readiness.

QUTAC

With a view to exploring potential applications of quantum computing using the newly arrived IBM system, the Quantum Technology & Application Consortium (‘QUTAC’) in Germany has brought together 10 large companies including Bosch, Siemens and BMW. The pharmaceutical, insurance and automotive industries, to name a few, are all areas in which we can expect the technology to eventually be applied. For example, BMW suggest that quantum computing could be used to optimise the process in which industrial robots apply sealant to cars and, consequently, improve manufacturing efficiency.

QUTAC express in their mission statement that:

"The critical moment for all technological developments lies in their move from fundamental research towards utilization. Quantum computing must find its way into practice and into commercially successful applications. This requires technical expertise, innovative spirit, economic resources and above all: cooperation"

It appears this sentiment is also shared by the German government, who have repeatedly emphasised the importance that quantum technology will hold in the near future. Indeed, the government have committed to almost €2 billion in funding over a five-year period for quantum computing research and development, with the intention of accelerating the formation of a successful quantum industry.

Although large consortiums such as QUTAC have an important role to play in this process, the IBM system is also accessible to a much wider pool of scientists and students for research or educational purposes. Such accessibility is viewed as a critical step towards the development of the ‘quantum-ready’ workforce that we require. We can also expect that this will translate into a growth in application specific end-users that are increasingly able to identify where and how quantum computing can bring value to their businesses.

Outlook

While the installation of the IBM quantum computer at the Fraunhofer Institute was the first of its kind outside the US, the system has now also been installed in Japan and similar partnerships are likely to appear elsewhere in the future. The growth of this quantum ecosystem is set to complement IBM’s ambitious ‘development roadmap’, which sets 2023 as a target for the release of a 1000+ qubit system: the ‘IBM Quantum Condor’.

 

This blog was written by Michali Demetroudi.

Andrew is a Senior Associate and Patent Attorney at Mewburn Ellis. He works primarily in the fields of telecoms, electronics and engineering. Andrew has extensive experience of drafting and prosecution, global portfolio management and invention capture to secure a commercially valuable IP portfolio. He also conducts freedom to operate analyses and performs due diligence.
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