MÁQUINA HERRAMIENTA - BIEMH 2024

The Basque Quantum Strategy

Basque Government and Local Councils team up with IBM to host quantum supercomputer in 2025

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EMPRESA XXI
Bilbao
4/1/2024

The Basque Country has made a strong commitment to promoting quantum technologies, which is why the regional government and the three provincial councils, together with IBM, are developing the Basque Quantum Strategy, a crosscutting initiative that aims to contribute to scientific discoveries in different areas of this type of technology, advance its practical application and accelerate its use and exploitation in different business sectors.

A key element of Basque Quantum is the agreement reached with IBM to create a Quantum Technology Center to position the Basque Country as the most advanced center in Southern Europe in this field. Thanks to this public-private alliance, the Basque Country will soon be home to the IBM Quantum System One computer, the sixth quantum supercomputer in the world, connected to an international network promoted by IBM that also includes the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada and South Korea.

Investment Partnership

The agreement provides for an investment of nearly 51 million euros from the regional government. However, other contributions from the three Basque regional governments will have to be added to this disbursement in order to support research projects, as well as the construction of some infrastructure to meet research needs. In total, the promoters expect the project to reach a direct investment of more than 120 million euros by 2028.

120 MILLION IN DIRECT INVESTMENT PLANNED BY 2028

The investments will be focused on four main areas: infrastructure, research excellence, training and innovation. Among the most important is a new building for the Ikerbasque Foundation in San Sebastian, which will house the IBM Euskadi Quantum Computation Center. Construction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2025, and the computer will be installed in the second half of the same year. However, several users have already been granted remote access to IBM’s quantum computing systems and collaboration agreements have been signed with institutions of the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network.

Also in the area of infrastructure, part of the indicated investments will be devoted to a new center for the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), which carries out cutting-edge research in physics and related disciplines, as well as to new research laboratories. Although the strategy was launched only a year ago, a call for joint research projects between the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network and IBM Research has already been launched in areas of common interest, with several projects selected within two lines of research excellence: “Error Mitigation for Quantum Dynamics Problems” and “Quantum Kernel Methods for Classification and Detection Problems”.

IBM's QUANTUM COMPUTER (6TH IN THE WORLD) WILL BE INSTALLED IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2025

Training In the area of training, a framework has been adopted for the definition of education and training programs aimed at different levels and agents: Research, Industry and Technology Centers, Higher Education and Vocational Training. In addition, researchers have been trained in quantum computing platforms and tools. In terms of innovation, programs have been launched for the participation of companies in projects with an impact on quantum computing in the business environment.

Other steps already taken at the Basque Quantum have been the appointment, at the end of 2023, of its scientific director, a position entrusted to the scientist Javier Aizpurua. In addition, the inter-institutional committee formed earlier this year will soon set up a steering group to coordinate and promote the Basque Quantum strategy. This strategy addresses four areas of quantum science and technology: quantum communications, quantum sensing, quantum computing and quantum simulation.

Data Economy

Another of the bets on digitalization was the launch, in mid- 2022, of the Baidata association, which was born with the vocation of promoting publicprivate leadership in Spain and Portugal in the data economy. The association, born from the promotion of the Innovalia Group with the support of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the support of the Association of Knowledge Industries and Applied Technology of Euskadi (Cluster Gaia), already has more than fifty companies and aims to develop a publicprivate data ecosystem through various research, training and development activities. To this end, Baidata offers its partners the opportunity to connect their business to the data economy through pilot actions, access to the necessary infrastructures to implement shared data spaces, as well as training plans to train companies and introduce them to technologies related to the data economy. It also aims to contribute to the creation of a European Data Union, promoting the connectivity and interoperability of the territories’ data space with other regional and national data spaces and with the common European data market, and serving as a link to European data environments.

Cibersecurity, a complete offer

The Basque Country enjoys the strength of having a cybersecurity ecosystem as one of the advantages it has to face its digital transformation process. Public-private collaboration, with strong institutional support in this area, has favored the growth and strengthening of the companies that make up this ecosystem. In fact, according to the third edition of the “White Paper on Cybersecurity in the Basque Country”, the region has more than 79 companies in this sector per million inhabitants, above the ratio for Spain as a whole (28) and the European average (22.8). This was highlighted during the recent presentation of the publication at a conference entitled “Euskadi digital safe: an ecosystem of reference in Europe”, where it was emphasized that the Basque Country is an attractive area for investment in this sector. Representatives from the Association of Knowledge and Technology Industries (Gaia), the Association of Cybersecurity Companies of Euskadi (Cybasque) and the Regional Government itself stressed that the Basque Country has a wide range of specialized actors that allow it to tackle cybersecurity projects in a comprehensive manner. In fact, it has technology centers, universities, integrators / consultants, distributors / wholesalers or manufacturers at the local level, making it possible to cover all the different links in the sector’s value chain.

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