France emphasizing quantum realm & eyes military gains
(C4ISR.net) France is emphasizing the quantum realm with a new multi-sector, cutting-edge computing platform, and by investing billions of euros over several years to support research-and-development efforts in the emerging technology field.
Cabinet officials announced the launch of a national hybrid quantum computing platform in a January event. The effort stems from the nation’s quantum technology strategic plan, which President Emmanuel Macron started one year ago. The plan earmarked 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion) to develop quantum technologies between 2021 and 2025, with the state providing 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion). The remaining funds will come from a mix of industry programs, European funding, and relevant startup investments. Leaders hope to create about 16,000 new jobs within this sector by 2030, per the French government.
An initial 70 million euros ($61.9 million) and up to 170 million euros ($150.2 million) will enable the new “hybrid quantum computing” platform to interconnect traditional systems and quantum computers, according to a French government statement. Those systems will then be available for an international community of research institutions, start-ups and industry partners to access.
The platform itself will be managed by France’s National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (INRIA), and housed at the country’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission’s (CEA) military tech-focused facilities in Paris.
Leaders representing multiple French government ministries participated in the half-day event on Tuesday. Mastering quantum technology is an “absolutely strategic interest” for France’s national defense, said Defense Minister Florence Parly in a virtual address.