Last week I had the pleasure of being part of the Quantum Inspire launch. During this event Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven and Eurocomissioner Mariya Gabriel presented the Quantum Inspire. Quantum Inspire is Europe's first public quantum computer, and the world's first multi-qubit platform with both a transmon and a silicon-spin backend. Here I give my (biased) summary of the discussions we had during the event.
As a Co-Founder of Orange Quantum Systems, I was asked to provide the business perspective in the panel discussion 1. One of the questions we discussed was how Europe can compete with the US and China 2. As Richard pointed out, Europe is on par with some of the bigger US companies in terms of innovation power. However, in general Europeans tend to be more conservative with respect to risk and investments, resulting in a relative lack of large players in Europe. I argue that to be succesful in Europe, we should not try to beat the Americans at their own game. Rather, we should look at examples like Airbus and ASML and build an ecosystem of smaller companies that all excell in their individual specialties.
I was particularly impressed by how committed Eurocomissioner Gabriel is to the quantum ecosystem. She emphasized the good position Europe is in to be a leader in quantum technologies and cited collaboration as key to achieving this ambition 3.
During the press-conference I got a particularly interesting question: When will we see the first commercial applications of quantum computing 4? Although the question is clearly aimed at "useful" quantum computations, I think that it is important, as an entrepreneur, to interpret this question differently. The reality is that there already is a market, the R&D market for tools to build quantum computers. And although this is an intermediate market that cannot be sustained forever, it does allow us to validate what works in terms of technology, collaboration, and business. More importantly, it allows us to build the value chain today so that it is ready when quantum computers start realizing their potential.
Take a look at the recording of the event and let me know what you think.