(Sifted.eu) The European startup ecosystem is booming in a way that has never been seen before. It’s not unreasonable to think that startup funding will hit $50bn next year for a few reasons. Firstly, global monetary policy remains super-lax and so there is heaps of money sloshing around, particularly from the US where startup valuations are much higher and investors are coming to Europe looking for a deal. Secondly, there is dry powder from 2020 waiting to be unleashed once the economy starts to recover.
Thirdly, the flywheel of European tech and startups is really spinning. More than ever, people young and old want to found or work in tech startups in a significant mindset shift from a decade ago.
Maija Palmer covers quantum computing on the European scene and writes, “We will figure out what to do with quantum computers” in 2021.
She explains: Quantum computers are the answer to everything — and nothing. So far it has been a little unclear just what we will be doing with quantum machines even when they do have a usable amount of qubit power.”
Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) are working out some ideas. A first project is to sell certifiably random numbers to companies that need them, which sounds a bit underwhelming unless you understand just how difficult it is to get true randomness. An idea with more wow-factor from CQC is revamping the way computers handle language — moving away from just pattern recognition around sets of words to machines that could understand grammar and the meaning of words. The first corporate customers can start buying these services next year.
Experts believe optimisation problems — the classic example is the traveling salesman trying to work out the shortest route that connects multiple cities — could be one of the areas where there is a benefit to going quantum. Once you factor in a large number of cities, there are so many different variations that classical computers struggle to handle them. In finance, there are potential uses of quantum to optimise investment portfolios.
Return on investment still looks uncertain when it comes to quantum computing, but expect companies to start figuring it out next year.

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