Since January 2021, Germany has also been able to boast of its first functional quantum computer. But at least its production took place abroad: it took almost a year to build the IBM Q System One in the USA. The time required for the physical assembly was quite manageable with a duration of just under two months. As is usual with quantum computers, the majority of the working time was spent calibrating the qubits in order to reduce error rates and extend coherence times as much as possible. In addition, the actual installation of the system in Ehningen was made more difficult by the corona pandemic. As a result, it remained questionable for a long time whether the system could be delivered and set up as planned in November 2020.
The Ehningen project began with a conversation between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ginni Rometty, then CEO of IBM, at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019. The result of this conversation was, among other things, the agreement to install a quantum computer in Germany. Shortly before, IBM had announced the IBM Q System One as the first commercially available quantum computer at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The system was actually only supposed to be set up in an IBM data center north of New York City.
At the same time, there were initial discussions between IBM and Fraunhofer about a possible cooperation and membership of the research company in the IBM Q Network. In this network, companies, academic institutions, start-ups and national research laboratories want to jointly advance the topic of quantum computing. From these contacts a cooperation agreement between IBM and Fraunhofer grew, including the agreement to set up a quantum system in Germany.
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