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Quantum receives another boost in Finland, as industry seeks foreign expertise

The Finnish Quantum Flagship seeks to broaden its networks to the Nordics and elsewhere globally.

Adobe

Attracting, training and retaining international talent is one of the pressing goals of the Finnish Quantum Flagship (FQF), which has announced 13 million euros in funding.

The FQF project is to kick off in March, and is broadly tasked with spurring quantum research, education and technology development in Finland. FQF seeks to broaden interdisciplinary quantum expertise and make it palatable beyond the scientific community.

“Finland is one of the known forerunners in quantum technologies, and our national collaboration is flexible,” said FQF director Peter Liljeroth, a professor of physics at Aalto University. “Although global competition is getting fierce, the spirit of collaboration among Finnish universities, research institutions, government agencies, and industrial partners is what sets us apart from other countries.”

The project’s launch will serve as a catalyst to bolster Finland’s excellence in education, research and industrial development in quantum technologies, Liljeroth added.

This 13-million-euro investment will be matched by the FQF member organisations, which, alongside Aalto University, include VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the University of Helsinki, the University of Jyväskylä, Tampere University, the University of Oulu, and CSC-IT Centre for Science.

The collective sum will altogether fund the first five years of the eight-year FQR project.

Sabrina Maniscalco co-founded Algorithmiq in 2020.

Susanna Lehto

Whilst this remains a persistent issue, the local industry still boats some leading names from abroad. The CEO of the quantum computer specialists IQMJan Goetz, for one, is originally from Germany.

Goetz co-founded the company in 2018 and has since seen IQM’s international profile accelerate rapidly in subsequent years. The company has thus far raised over 200 million euros of venture capital and in 2023, together with VTT, announced the successful completion of a 20-qubit superconductive computer.

“The launch of the 20-qubit quantum computer represents a significant step, and we are now on track for the development of the next generation of processors with 54 qubits and more for customers,” underlined Goetz.

International expertise is also the driving force behind Algorithmiq, a Helsinki-based startup developing quantum algorithms to solve complex life sciencesissues. Co-founding the company in 2020, CEO Sabrina Maniscalco is originally from Italy. Algorithmiq announced a collaboration with IBM in 2022 and its drug-discovery platform, Aurora, significantly reducing the time it takes to discover new drugs and bring them to market.

Led by CEO Himadri Majumdar (left), SemiQon is utilising innovative semiconductor technology to make quantum computing more scalable.

SemiQon

“We have discovered a method to combine the outcome of quantum computers with the most powerful classical method in a way that is accurate, efficient and scalable,” Maniscalco explained. “This makes Aurora the only platform on the market able to use existing quantum computers to solve problems that are relevant to drug discovery.”

The good news has continued for Algorithmiq, raising €13.7 million in 2023.

Another leading name originally from abroad in the local quantum computing ecosystem is Himadri Majumdar, the CEO of SemiQon. Originally from India, Majumdar founded the company in 2023.

“At SemiQon, we are already on track to build the most scalable, sustainable and cost-effective quantum processors,” Majumdar stated.

SemiQon made headlines again in 2023 when it was granted, along with the Netherlands’ Qblox2.5 million euros in funding from the European Innovation Council.

The two quantum technology developers are thus building “truly scalable quantum computers” – high-quality silicon-based spin qubits and the tools to control and operate them sustainably with a scalable quantum computing control stack.

By: James O’Sullivan
18.01.2024