🇫🇮 🇪🇸 IQM QUANTUM COMPUTERS IN THE HEART OF THE QUANTUM SPAIN PROGRAM

May 5, 2023
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Press release from Business Finland

Photo: IQM

IQM, the Finnish spin-off between VTT and Aalto University, is a member of the consortium that was selected to build the first quantum computer for public use in Southern Europe.

Quantum Spain is an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation through the Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence (SEDIA) in December 2022. Quantum Spain is financed by RRF (Recovery and Resilience Facility), a temporary recovery instrument of the European Union.

  • IQM is a member of the consortium led by Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech and GMV
  •  IQM will deliver a first quantum processing unit by the second quarter of 2023
  • The quantum computer will be installed at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and integrated into the MareNostrum 5 supercomputer.

How all of this has become possible in record breaking time, we asked directly from Jani Heikkinen, Head of Global Business Development and Country Manager for Spain at IQM and Victor Canivell, Co-Founder at Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech, its local partner in Spain and the European Union.

IQM’S OFFICE WAS ESTABLISHED IN SPAIN

In May 2021, right after the pandemic, IQM publicly announced its decision to establish a legal presence in Spain. It was grounded by a market study and initial market support from Business Finland in Spain revealing and confirming the Spain´s high potential in quantum. Deciding on the location was a trickier question.

According to Jani Heikkinen, the first choice was Bilbao, Basque Country, due to its activities related to R&D in quantum, the potential availability of local talent, and interest in international cooperation. However, in 2022, they moved the office to Madrid, and they are looking forward to expanding and continuing to collaborate with the Spanish quantum ecosystem to drive the advancement of quantum technology.

“Be part of the local ecosystem, win quantum related projects and attract local talent as main objectives for opening an office in Spain”, said Heikkinen.

THE SKILLS COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER

From the very beginning it became very clear that the key to success lies in joining the local quantum ecosystem. IQM highlights the utmost importance of identifying the local partners, understanding potential synergies, and signing cooperation agreements.

“We are looking for a more strategic partnership with Qilimanjaro as our solutions are complementary. For example, our approach is a digital quantum computer and their’s is an analogue quantum computer, so we see a lot of synergies for working together. On the software side we have signed a MoU with Multiverse, a San-Sebastian based company for quantum applications and algorithms. We have also spoken with some other companies in Spain, so this is a work in progress” comments Heikkinen.

Qilimanjaro is a spin-off from the Barcelona Supercomputer Center (BSC), the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Institute of High-Energy Physics (IFAE). Both companies share a vision for the co-design of chips and quantum algorithms.

“We became very natural partners for the project. The tender was dedicated to a certain kind of a digital quantum computer, for which IQM’s chips were very well suited. Qilimanjaro, as responsible for building the quantum computer and providing the access and control software, together with IQM, decided to partner in the consortium to address this lighthouse project ” confirmed Victor Canivell.

During the negotiations, both companies discovered a lot of convergencies in terms of quantum hardware and software development, availability of clean rooms and access to other geographical areas.

According to Canivell, there is a strong need in Europe for accumulation of a critical mass of quantum technology where IQM is one of the leading players. Both companies are sure that the Quantum Spain Program has marked the beginning of their joint journey in quantum technologies in Europe.

QUANTUM SPAIN PROGRAM MODERNIZES SPAIN 

The Quantum Spain program is a quantum computing ecosystem in Spain, which is also the first in Southern Europe. The program is financed by RRF (Recovery and Resilience Facility).

In 2021 the Spanish government launched an ambitious plan to modernize Spain technologically and announced the Quantum Spain program, a €20+ million investment project coordinated by BSC, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre. It felt only natural that IQM should have applied to the tender in cooperation with a local partner Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech. Powerful synergy between the companies based on IQM experience in France and Germany, led to a high interest from the decision makers, and, as a result, to winning the tender in 2023.

IQM has been selected to deliver quantum processing units for the first Spanish quantum computer to be installed at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and integrated into the MareNostrum 5 supercomputer, the most powerful in Spain.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BUSINESS FINLAND AND THE ENTIRE TEAM FINLAND NETWORK IS CRUCIAL

Business Finland has been very supportive during all our process of setting up in Spain, making useful introductions and providing more visibility for IQM

“The Team Finland support in Spain has been crucial to our success”, confirms Heikkinen.

It started in March 2022 when Minister Skinnari visited Spain and we got a chance to sit down at the same table with Ms. Carme Artigas, Secretary of State for Digitisation and Intelligence, to introduce IQM.  A few months later Ms. Sari Rautio, the Ambassador of Finland to Spain, organized a meeting between IQM, Ministry for Economy and Digitalization and Mr. Martorell, Special Commissioner of PERTE Chips, another ambitious €12.000 million project launched by the Spanish government with the goal to create in Spain state-of-the-art nanochips production facilities.

“It is important to proactively network with Team Finland and use their support because they can really bring value to the Finnish companies abroad. However, nothing comes by default, the companies need to be active and pursue the resources available in other countries” concludes Heikkinen.

Daria Mashkina, senior advisor in Business Finland office in Spain, defines efficient and trust-based communication between IQM and Business Finland as a key factor to their success.

“IQM is an exceptional Finnish company in many ways: it is DeepTech, born-global, knowledge intensive. But most importantly it is extremely cooperative and responsive. Our relationship is truly based on trust, continuous feedback, and mutual willingness to advance the Finnish technologies globally”, Mashkina says.

Both IQM and Qilimanjaro agree that Finland is strongly associated with quantum technologies and has proven to be one of the most active member states for DeepTech and Quantum. BSC is currently developing a new technology in cooperation with Aalto university from Finland. The project includes artificial intelligence and grounds foundation for emerging quantum industries in Europe, where IQM is thriving to lead..

FURTHER INFORMATION

Daria Mashkina
daria.mashkina (at) businessfinland.fi
Puh. +34 603 645 130


Originally published on 5 May.

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