What Europe’s $48 billion chips plan could do for quantum computing

By IQT News posted 11 Feb 2022

(InterestingEngineering) Grant Currin, senior writer at Interesting Engineering, explains The European Chips Act, which was formally proposed this week by the European Commission, is the latest in a series of moves to increase investment in high-tech manufacturing on the continent. Inside Quantum Technology News summarizes here:

The goal is to more than double Europe’s share of the semiconductor chip market to 20 percent in less than a decade — while preparing the continent to dominate emerging market categories like quantum computing.
Mark Mattingley-Scott, a former IBM executive who’s now managing director of quantum computing hardware manufacturer Quantum Brilliance, says that provisions in the funding proposal might enable his company to start producing its diamond-based quantum computers at least a couple of years earlier than would otherwise be possible. In a fast-moving market like quantum computing, such a head-start could be huge. “I think the chips act will maybe enable Quantum Brilliance to aspire to become the Fairchild or Intel of diamond[-based quantum computers],” he says.

The European Chips Act, which still has to be approved by EU member states and lawmakers, would temporarily re-write strict rules that regulate when and how individual countries are allowed to subsidize industries within their borders.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the measure “will allow — for the first time — public support for European ‘first-of-a-kind’ production facilities, which benefit all of Europe,” noting that money will be handed out “under strict conditions” that maintain fairness within Europe’s highly integrated economy.
Many details about the plan, including exactly what types of projects will be eligible to receive the funds, remain unclear.
Mattingley-Scott says executives at many European tech companies “are waiting with bated breath” to see what the law means “​in terms of funding and funding initiatives.”

The move comes in response to a chip shortage and supply chain crisis that has injected instability into the global economy and widespread fears that countries and regions are falling behind in an economy that’s moving quickly.
In Asia, factories currently produce most of the silicon chips that the world’s electronic devices use to perform the head-spinning number of calculations required to run their software. Nearly all of the most advanced chips — roughly 90 percent — come from just one country, Taiwan.
There are still open questions about how Europe will fully fund the plan, though. Some $30 billion will be paid for with public funding, and another $12 billion from private investment. The big question, though, is the matter of “public funding.” Where will the money come from? According to documents reviewed by Bloomberg, the answer to that question remains unclear.
European lawmakers are far from the only leaders who are concerned about the current chip shortage.
Many details about the plan, including exactly what types of projects will be eligible to receive the funds, remain unclear.
The move comes in response to a chip shortage and supply chain crisis that has injected instability into the global economy and widespread fears that countries and regions are falling behind in an economy that’s moving quickly.

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