IBM has chosen Germany as the location for Europe’s first quantum computer, as the region battles to keep up with the US and China on research in the field.
One of IBM’s Q System One computers will be built at the Fraunhofer Institute, near Stuttgart in Germany, and research labs will be set up around it.
The machine has been touted as the world’s first “commercial” quantum computer.
Quantum computers are different to classical computers in that they can perform calculations significantly faster, due to the fact they have much more power.
However, although IBM says its Q System One is a “commercial” product, the machine is still primarily used for research purposes, to allow experts to understand quantum computing better.
IBM Europe’s chairman Martin Jetter said the move to set up the new quantum computer was “poised to be a major catalyst for Europe’s innovation landscape and research capabilities”.
It is among the US companies leading the charge in quantum computing, competing against Microsoft and Google to become the first to reach so-called “quantum supremacy”.
This is a state in which a new generation of machine vastly outperforms the world’s fastest super-computer.
There are also huge advancements in China at the moment, specifically in looking at how the technology could actually be implemented and what real-world use quantum computing could have.
Data from Patinformatics showed China had filed almost 500 patents on quantum technology in 2018, compared to the US’s 248 and the European Union’s 31.
Over the next ten years, the EU has set aside €1bn (£890m) of investment in the area, compared to China’s $10bn (£8bn), prompting concerns about the bloc lagging behind.
However, there are signs more research is starting to be done in the space across Europe. Figures from Atomico for 2019 revealed almost 60pc of the venture capital funding into quantum businesses went into Europe. Just 5pc went into Asian companies and 32pc into the US and Canada.
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