The partnership has come to fruition as the result of an international public tender and has been allocated 20.7 million euros by the Finnish Government. The project will advance in three stages, the first of which will be to build a five-qubit computer within a year and proceed towards the end-goal of setting up a 50-qubit device. Google and IBM currently lay claim to the most powerful, 53-qubit, devices in the world.
“It’s not the number of qubits but how we effectively use them,” says Jan Goetz, CEO of IQM. “By 2024, there is a high likelihood to simulate several real-world problems and start finding solutions with a quantum computer. Quantum material simulations for chemistry applications, such as molecule design for new drugs, and the discovery of chemical reaction processes for better battery and fertiliser production are some likely examples.”
Finns well positioned
The collaboration continues an intense year for Finnish quantum computing, which has seen Helsinki be named the most innovative ecosystem in the world and IQM secure a little over 20 million euros in funding in June and another 39 million in November.
IQM’s momentum has paralleled the kickstart of VTT’s project to establish a world-leading ecosystem for the new technology, which holds lucrative promise for industry and society alike – not just within the Finnish borders.
“Finland has the potential to be the European leader in quantum technologies,” told Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs. “I look forward to witnessing the opportunities that quantum will present to Finnish and European businesses and the competitiveness of the entire region.”
IQM currently boasts the largest industrial quantum hardware team in Europe and is growing its expertise by one quantum engineer a week. The startup is also looking to get in on the action in Germany, where the federal government has announced plans to construct two quantum computers worth two billion euros.
“We are witnessing a boost in deep-tech funding in Europe,” told Goetz. “For the healthy growth of startups like IQM, we need all three funding channels: research grants to stimulate new key innovations, equity investments to grow the company [and] early adoption through acquisitions supported by the government. This allows us to pool the risk while creating a new industry and business cases.”