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The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has placed five contracts for ion-trap-based quantum computing worth a total of €208 million. The contracts have been issued as part of the DLR’s Quantum Computing Initiative. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is providing some €740 million to assist the initiative. 80% of this, i.e. around €600 million, is going towards research and development contracts with companies for various variants of quantum computers; the rest of the funding is going towards DLR’s own research work.

Anna Christmann, Federal Government Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Startups, said: “The contracts worth €208 million going to companies in Germany are giving a massive boost to quantum computing. We are building up Germany’s strengths in this key enabling technology.”

Quantum computers use the laws of quantum physics to speed up computer operations. They have the potential to solve problems in key applications which today’s supercomputers would need years to compute. Quantum computers can be realised in a variety of ways; one highly promising possibility is ion traps. Here, electrically charged particles (ions) are used as information carriers, held in one place by electromagnetic fields, and manipulated with lasers or microwaves. The development of the systems commissioned by the DLR will take place in several phases over four years.

“We need a strong commercial ecosystem so that we can bring quantum computers to the market in future and have independent access to the applications of quantum computing in Germany and Europe. Here, the DLR’s Quantum Computing Initiative is a reliable anchor customer and driver of innovations,” explained Christmann.

Details can be found in the DLR press release.