IBM plans first European quantum computing centre in Germany

US tech company IBM announced its plan on Tuesday (6 June) to open the first European quantum data centre in Germany, which should become operational in 2024.

The IBM Centre will be opened in Ehningen, in the South-West of Germany, to help businesses, research, and government institutions gain access to cutting-edge quantum computing.

The data centre will have several IBM quantum computer systems with quantum processors of more than 100 qubits to enable users in the European cloud region to deploy quantum systems and process clients’ data solely in Europe.

“The construction of the planned quantum computing centre and associated cloud region will allow European users to harness the potential of quantum computing to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges,” said Jay Gambetta, vice president of IBM Quantum.

Alongside the new hardware, IBM is also announcing new software to improve the routing of quantum computer workflows. To bridge the efficient execution of programmes on different architectures and handle the different legal situations on data in the quantum cloud regions, IBM introduced the ‘Multichannel Scheduler’.

This software layer is located between user and cloud services to regulate the various quantum cloud regions and will be ready for the opening of the Ehningen-Centre.

IBM Europe

Ehningen is already home to the IBM Campus, inaugurated in 2009. The Campus combines other areas of IBM Deutschland GmbH and is already the location of their main data centre.

In 2021, IBM also launched Europe’s first quantum computer in Ehningen, which was at the time seen as a milestone on the path to Germany’s technological sovereignty.

More than 60 organisations across Europe are currently using the quantum hardware and software of the IBM Quantum Network via the cloud.

These customers include BOSCH, the German Armed Forces University, Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale, the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY), E.ON, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), and more.

As European customers, these companies are exploring potential uses for quantum computing in materials science, high-energy physics, energy transition, sustainability, and financial applications.

According to the company’s statement, the European IBM Quantum Cloud Region is meant to be a key aspect of IBM’s efforts to work with leading European companies, universities, and government agencies to advance quantum computing and help build the workforce in this field in Europe.

Germany’s strategy on quantum technology

The plan for the first European IBM Quantum Cloud Region in Germany plays into the hands of the German government’s own quantum strategy.

In mid-May, the government presented in the Bundestag a new strategy, the so-called “Quantum Technologies Action Concept”, to take a leading position in the field of quantum technology and catch up with China and the United States.

As part of Germany’s aspiration for technological sovereignty, the plan aims to exploit quantum technologies’ potential and tackle societal challenges in climate research, energy, health, mobility, and security.

The forty-page document set milestones for Germany to shape the technological leap by 2026.

“For a sustainable and technologically sovereign Germany, it is crucial to identify upcoming technologies and their potential as early as possible, to create excellent framework conditions for their future design and use, and to help shape the technological leap actively,” the action plan states.

The international race in the field of quantum computers is both commercial and strategic due to their greatly increased performance compared to ordinary supercomputers and their potential to break ordinary encryption technologies.

[Edited by Luca Bertuzzi/Zoran Radosavljevic]


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