The Hamburg Senate today approved a four-part package of measures to strengthen the quantum computing ecosystem in Hamburg. Around 34.1 million euros are to be made available for this purpose in the period from 2023 to 2028. The City of Hamburg will provide a funding share of around 25.1 million euros. The package of measures was developed jointly by the Ministry of Science, Research, Equality and Districts (BWFGB) and the Ministry of Economics and Innovation (BWI) in order to drive forward the establishment and expansion of this ecosystem in the best possible way. The funding is another important building block for exploiting Hamburg's excellent starting position in the global race for this technology of the future.
Whether climate change, global logistics issues or combinations of active ingredients in medicines: Quantum computing is regarded as a powerful key technology that can contribute significantly to solving increasingly complex problems of the 21st century. The expectation is that quantum computers can perform calculations and simulations in minutes that take conventional computers months to years. For example, complex traffic flows in large cities or logistics can be optimized, such as by calculating the best routes in real time.
In order to make Hamburg one of the top international locations for quantum computing, the Hamburg Senate has developed a package of measures for the establishment of a quantum computing ecosystem. This is to encompass the entire value chain of quantum computing: from basic research to application-oriented research to industrial application. To this end, the potentials of Hamburg's science and industry are to be used and bundled in the best possible way. The funding is divided into four measures: 19.1 million euros are allocated to the establishment of the Hamburg Quantum Computing School (HQS), including the costs of administrative processing. The project "Quantum Computing for Shipping and Maritime Logistics in Hamburg (QSH)" at the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (CML) is being supported with two million euros. Three million euros will flow into the expansion of the Hamburg Quantum Innovation Capital Initiative (HQIC) and ten million euros into the Quantum Computing funding initiative.
Science Senator Katharina Fegebank: "Quantum technology is the key technology of our time. It will enable us to find solutions to the complex challenges of today and tomorrow - from climate change and logistics issues to vaccine development. Hamburg is in a very good position to play a leading role in the field of quantum computing. Our outstanding universities and our world-leading research institutions have pooled excellent scientific expertise in quantum computing over the years. Our close local networking - between science, business and industry - is our locational advantage. We must now make targeted use of this special starting situation for us and consistently expand this locational advantage. This is precisely where the package of measures adopted by the Senate today comes in. We are now setting the right course so that no one will be able to bypass Hamburg when it comes to quantum technology."
Senator for Economic Affairs Michael Westhagemann: "Innovation has never been as exciting as it is today - with seemingly limitless possibilities opened up by technologies. Quantum technologies will change the way we compute, communicate and perceive, and with it, cybersecurity, the discovery of new medicines and the management of climate change. Thanks to the diversity of industries, we have the best framework conditions in Hamburg to test and establish practical applications."
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Timm-Giel, President of Hamburg University of Technology: "The Hamburg Quantum Computing School - HQS - is a pillar of the quantum computing ecosystem, with which we are jointly developing Hamburg into the top address nationally and internationally in this future field. Hamburg will become a leading research and development location for quantum computing, where outstanding specialists will also be trained and start-ups will emerge. The cooperation between the University of Hamburg and the Hamburg University of Technology in the HQS is exemplary. At HQS, we combine research and education from the complex system of quantum computing: from quantum physics to electrical engineering with microsystems technology and high-frequency technology to computer science. This is unique. We will launch a new generation of researchers who will work in basic research as well as in applications in industry and business."
Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren, President University of Hamburg: "It is quite outstanding that Hamburg will sustainably strengthen and expand the topic of quantum computing. Especially with the Hamburg Quantum Computing School, it will be possible to even better network the outstanding expertise that the University of Hamburg has at the Center for Optical Quantum Technologies with the activities of the Hamburg University of Technology and Hamburg industry. At the same time, we will be able to train experts in quantum computing who are of central importance for the future. The University of Hamburg will thus further strengthen its position as an important 'global player' in quantum technologies. This is also very important for the next round of the Excellence Initiative.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Carlos Jahn, Director of Fraunhofer CML: "Fraunhofer CML combines knowledge and experience in maritime logistics, mathematical optimization and quantum computing. This makes us the ideal partner to support companies from the maritime industry in introducing this new technology."
In the competition to become the leading location in the field of quantum computing, Hamburg has established a very good starting position in Germany in recent years. With the Center for Optical Quantum Technologies (ZOQ) at the University of Hamburg, the necessary scientific expertise in this field has been systematically built up over a period of more than 15 years. Today, ZOQ is one of the few research groups worldwide that can build a "next generation" quantum computer. This is demonstrated, among other things, by the acquisition of the large-scale collaborative project "Rymax 1 Quantum Optimizer" within the framework of the BMBF funding strand Quantum Technologies. From 2022 to 2026, this project will provide 29 million euros in funding for the construction of a quantum computer demonstrator based on Rydberg atoms. In addition to scientific partners, high-tech companies, the OTTO Group and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) are involved as associated partners.
Hamburg University of Technology has outstanding expertise in integrated photonics and is thus ideally positioned to prepare the scalability of next-generation photonic quantum computers. The expertise in high-frequency engineering available at Hamburg University of Technology is essential for the signal exploitation of quantum computers. Finally, in the field of algorithmic value creation on quantum computers, Hamburg University of Technology occupies a leading position in Germany and has acquired an endowed professorship from Fujitsu/Dataport.
The industrial application possibilities and application-oriented research also distinguish Hamburg as a successful location in the field of quantum computing. Numerous well-known companies that could benefit in a special way from quantum computing applications are located in Hamburg (e.g. logistics companies, companies in the maritime industry and microelectronics, ports). In Lokstedt, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is establishing a quantum computing innovation center on the NXP campus, where industrial companies are working together with DLR and other partners to further develop the quantum computing ecosystem in an economically relevant way. With the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML, Hamburg also has a research institution that contributes initial experience in applied research in the field of quantum computing.
About the Hamburg Quantum Computing School (HQS).
The Hamburg Quantum Computing School addresses a key success factor for the development and expansion of the quantum computing ecosystem: Scientists and specialists in the fields of hardware, software and applications of quantum computers. These are to be increasingly recruited and trained for the Hamburg location. This is a large-scale project jointly run by the University of Hamburg and the Hamburg University of Technology, in which the urgently needed specialists and managers for quantum computing are to be trained. Within the framework of HQS, the two central areas of hardware and software/application will be worked on together in a technically intertwined manner.
About the project Quantum Computing for Shipping and Maritime Logistics in Hamburg
The Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (CML) aims to research complex optimization problems from the maritime industry and logistics together with practical partners and make them applicable to quantum computing. This project is intended to make an important contribution to one of Hamburg's key industries. Many complex issues in maritime logistics - such as route or personnel planning - form the core of the operations of various players in the maritime industry. Their efficient solution is therefore of high economic and strategic importance for the companies.
About the Hamburg Quantum Innovation Capital Initiative (HQIC)
In order to bundle activities in the field of quantum computing, BWFGB and BWI launched the Hamburg Quantum Innovation Capital-Initiative (HQIC) in May 2022. To further expand HQIC, the topics of qualification and further education in particular are to take on a greater focus. Particularly in the area of industrial education, it is important to create offerings at the location that reflect the current and future demand in the field of quantum computing.
About the quantum computing funding initiative
Accompanying the other measures, a "Quantum Computing Funding Initiative" will be implemented within IFB Hamburg's proven innovation funding programs for startups and research and development (R&D) projects. The funds made available for this purpose are to be used to provide targeted support for innovative quantum computing projects. In particular, this funding is to be integrated into the existing InnoFounder and InnoRampup funding programs for startups as well as the Program for Innovation (PROFI), which supports R&D projects of existing companies also in cooperation with universities and research institutions.
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