VTT announced on 12 May that it had launched a project to acquire Finland’s first quantum computer. The Finnish Government has granted EUR 20.7 million in funding for the acquisition. The aim of the project is to strengthen the competitiveness of Finland and Europe in a rapidly developing field and to create Europe’s leading ecosystem for the development and application of quantum technology in Finland together with companies, universities and research institutes.
Quantum technology is one of the key technologies chosen by the European Commission in which our continent must be at the forefront of development and technically independent. The funding granted to VTT for the acquisition and development of a quantum computer will promote Finnish and European competence in the field of quantum technologies and quantum computing. The three-phase project is scheduled for 2020–2024.
The quantum computer to be built for VTT will serve both Finnish and European companies extensively and create a foundation for a new branch of industry.
“The quantum computer will enable high-performance computing capacity for Finnish researchers and companies, and thus will have a significant impact on the future competitiveness of companies. With the quantum computer, we have the opportunity to create a whole new industry”, Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä emphasises.
“It is great that Finland has the courage to invest in the future and ensure that we are among the first to benefit from developments in this sector. In the long run, the emergence of a new industrial sector will create prosperity and sustainable growth for the whole of Finland”, says VTT’s President & CEO Antti Vasara.
The goal of the quantum computer acquisition is to support the operations of universities and research institutes and to create new services for companies to increase their competitiveness together with partners. Of the partners, Aalto University has already been strongly involved in the planning of the quantum project.
"We are very interested in being part of the development of an internationally significant competence and innovation cluster built around quantum technology”, says Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University.
The first phase of the project, which is now starting, will focus primarily on increasing technical capabilities. The aim is to have a five-qubit quantum computer in working order at the end of the first phase. However, the ultimate goal of the project is a significantly larger, 50-qubit machine. In addition to the development of the quantum computer itself, it is important for the technology and competence related to quantum computing to be strengthened in Finland in all areas, from hardware to algorithms and applications. Building a strong ecosystem together with an extensive network of partners is central to this.
The acquisition and development of the quantum computer will be carried out as an innovation partnership that has been opened for international competitive tendering. The first phase of the competitive tendering process is open until 16 June.