Berlin (dpa) – In the international race for the technology of the future, the federal government has released a total of two billion euros for the development of quantum computers.
The Federal Ministry of Research allocates 1.1 billion euros, and 878 million euros comes from the budget of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs. The goal is to build a competitive quantum computer in Germany within the next five years and create an associated ecosystem with potential users, Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) said Tuesday in Berlin. “Today we embark on the quantum computer mission” Made in Germany “.”
Until now, there is no quantum computer in Germany that has been built entirely without technology from abroad. After all, the German medium-sized companies Trumpf and Sick are considered to be leading knowledge carriers when it comes to quantum optical sensors.
Quantum technologies are one of the decisive key technologies of the future, Karliczek said. “They will enable us to make our communications absolutely secure, use highly sensitive sensors to make leaps and bounds in medical technology, or use quantum computing to tackle previously unsolvable problems in logistics or materials research.”
With the concept of quantum computers, research and industry are responding to the fact that the hitherto prevalent development of powerful computers is approaching its physical limits. A quantum computer does not store information in the form of bits that can have only two possible states, one or zero. Instead, a quantum computer qubit can be both at the same time, i.e. one and zero. The quantum particle pauses in both states until you look at it or measure it. This means that quantum computers can theoretically be many times faster and more powerful than conventional computers.
To achieve the goal of the program, the Ministry of Research is initially funding the construction of “demonstration quantum computers”. These computers should have 24 fully functional qubits. Within five years, a competing German quantum computer must be equipped with at least 100 individually controllable qubits – scalable to at least 500 qubits. Currently, the largest quantum computers are a 65 qubit computer from IBM and a 54 qubit system from Google.
Another funding measure, ‘Quantum Computing Application Network’, aims to enable users from industry and basic research to assess the potential of quantum computers for use in different fields. The goal is to divide findings from theory into practice. The focus is on the specific problems for which the quantum computers available in the short and medium term offer practical benefits.
Most of the money from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, 740 million euros, goes to the German Aerospace Center (DLR). With partners from industry, medium-sized companies, start-ups and research, the DLR will set up two consortia to develop a German quantum computer and associated software and applications.
Federal Economy Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) said quantum computers have the potential to revolutionize key sectors of the economy – for example, when controlling energy demand and traffic or testing new active ingredients. “Our goal is for Germany to become one of the world leaders in the development and practical application of quantum computing.” With the funding, the federal government wants to ensure that excellent research results are converted into innovative applications. “We want to very quickly create an industrial base to put quantum computers into practice and use their potential for our economy and society.”
In addition to setting up the two consortia, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is supporting the establishment of an industrial innovation center at DLR. In addition, a competence center for quantum technology is being set up at the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB).