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Cheng: France has world’s most balanced and systemic approach to developing entire quantum ecosystem

By IQT News posted 18 Nov 2021

(Sifted.eu) France has always been at the forefront of cryptography and has one of the richest ecosystems for quantum pioneers, writes Andrew Cheng in this opinion piece summarized here by IQT-News. Cheng is CEO of Post-Quantum and Nomidio.

France’s history includes individuals ranging from the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Albert Fert and Serge Haroche, to French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) Gold Medallist Alain Aspect’s pioneering research on quantum entanglement and quantum simulators.
To build on this, earlier this year the French government announced a €1.8bn strategy to boost research in quantum technologies over five years. This will see public investment in the field increase from €60m to €200m a year.
Not only is investment increasing, but the often overlooked part is that funding is being funnelled into various fields of quantum computing. France recognises that quantum computing is not a homogenous industry and that various aspects require attention outside the development of actual quantum computers.

Taken together, France is building a framework for industrial and research forces to make the country a key player across the entire quantum ecosystem, from computing development to post-quantum security.

So how does the rest of Europe compare? The short answer is that it’s lagging far behind.
France’s closest competitor is Germany, with its government recently pledging to invest €2bn in quantum computing and related technologies over five years. That’s a larger number than France’s commitment but it appears the scope is to only build a competitive quantum computer in five years while growing a network of companies to develop applications.

In Cheng’s opinion, “It is also the case that France, in my opinion, is keeping pace with the traditional leaders — the US, China and Canada — and even pushing ahead in some areas.”
While the US, Canadian and Chinese governments have committed impressive amounts to quantum, much of the focus in these countries is on developing a functioning computer, without recognising that a successful quantum strategy needs to be much broader. For example,  the US Department of Homeland Security’s budget for next year makes scant reference to quantum computing and the technology that is going to underpin post-quantum security.

Cheng concludes, “If we measure success in quantum by not only how quickly we can develop such computers, but also how effectively they can be applied and how robust our protection is against the darker side of the technology, then I’d argue that France has the world’s most balanced and systemic approach.”

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