What’s ultimately at stake is the potential for a dramatic leap forward: quantum computing could mean quickly completing tasks that would take thousands of years for an ordinary computer. The European Union has plans for €1bn of investment in quantum technologies over the next 10 years, far from the $10bn that has been announced by China.
But don’t count Europe out just yet. What the region lacks in mega-funding it can make up for with a secret weapon: superbrains. Charles Beigbeder, a French investor with his investment company Audacia and its fund Quantonation, is putting €20m behind the idea that Europe’s scientific expertise can translate into successful European companies. “Europe has a good set of cards to play because it’s had a very strong track record of fundamental research, including in physics and maths,'' he says.
The argument about European brains being the region’s golden ticket isn’t new. The region does have a history of Nobel prize winning academics and top-ranked science universities. “The key will be our ability as a region to build on the cooperation between the scientific and industrial worlds,” Beigbeder says.