EuroHPC JU unveils the six sites that will soon host the first European quantum computers

The European Joint Undertaking for High Performance Computing (EuroHPC JU) announced on October 4 the selection of six sites across the European Union to host and operate the first EuroHPC quantum computers following a March AMI 2022: Czechia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Poland.

The Joint Undertaking is a legal and financial entity created in 2018 to enable the EU and EuroHPC participating countries to coordinate their efforts and pool their resources with the aim of making Europe a world leader in computing high performance.

To date, five of its supercomputers are operational: LUMI in Finland (which ranks 3rd in the world), Vega in Slovenia, MeluXina in Luxembourg, Discoverer in Bulgaria and Karolina in the Czech Republic, three are in the process of being installed: Deucalion in Portugal, MareNostrum5 in Spain and LEONARDO in Italy.

The EuroHPC joint venture also announced last June five new hosting sites for a new generation of European supercomputers in Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland and Poland:

  • JUPITER, the first European exascale supercomputer, will be hosted by the Jülich supercomputing center in Germany

Four other sites have also been selected to host mid-range supercomputers with petascale or pre-exascale capabilities:

  • DAEDALUS in Greece,
  • LEVENTE in Hungary,
  • CASPIr in Ireland,
  • EHPCPL in Poland.

In December 2021, the EuroHPC joint venture launched its first quantum computing initiative with its R&I project. The project aims to integrate two quantum simulators, each controlling about 100 quantum bits (qubits), into two already existing supercomputers:

  • the Joliot Curie supercomputer from GENCI, the French national supercomputing organization, located in France;
  • the JUWELS supercomputer at the Jülich Supercomputing Center in Germany.

The first European quantum computers

EuroHPC’s March AMI invited supercomputing centers to apply as hosting entities for its quantum computers.

These will be integrated into existing supercomputers and the selected hosting entities will operate the systems on behalf of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking. The quantum computers will be co-funded by EuroHPC through the Digital Europe Program (DEP) and by contributions from the participating states of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking concerned.

The joint venture will co-finance up to 50% of the total cost of quantum computers with an expected total investment of more than €100 million. The exact funding arrangements for each system will be reflected in the hosting agreements that will be signed shortly.

The new quantum computers will help meet the growing needs of European industry and academia for quantum computing resources and potential new services. They will be able to solve complex problems related to fields such as health, climate change, logistics or energy use in a few hours, whereas current systems require months or even years, while consuming much more energy.

Integrating quantum computing capabilities into HPC applications will enable scientific discoveries, R&D and new opportunities for industrial innovations.

Researchers in academia or industry anywhere in Europe will be able to access these six quantum computers based on cutting-edge European technology.

The new quantum computers are expected to be available at the six selected sites, including KAROLINA in Czechia, LUMI in Finland and EHPCPL in Poland, by the second half of 2023. They will support a wide range of applications of industrial, scientific and societal for Europe:

  • A much faster and more efficient development of new drugs, with the creation of a “digital twin” of a human body on which, for example, virtual drug trials will be carried out;
  • Solving complex logistical and programming problems to help companies save time and fuel;
  • The development and testing, in a virtual environment, of new materials such as polymers for airplanes, catalytic converters for cars, solar cells or room-temperature superconductors that could store energy indefinitely.

The quantum computers will be made entirely of European hardware and software, taking advantage of European technology developed through EU-funded quantum initiatives, national research programs and private investment.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, concludes:

“Here is an example of a European project par excellence. By pooling resources and know-how, we can play a leading role in an area that is essential for the future of our digital society. This contributes to our fight against climate change. And it is an essential step in our drive to deploy a world-class supercomputing and quantum computing infrastructure in Europe accessible across the EU. »

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