The project will help everything from networking to gravity sensors.
The European Union doesn’t want to simply wait around while scientists figure out the fundamentals of quantum computing; it’s giving the concept a big financial boost, too. The European Commission has revealed plans for a €1 billion ($1.13 billion) “quantum technologies flagship” that, like other EU-level efforts, aims to turn scientific discoveries into practical realities. The Commission expects the project to help everything from motion sensors in phones to virtually unhackable communications. Honest-to-goodness quantum computers are some of the long-term goals, the EU says.
You won’t see the fruits of this funding for a while. The flagship doesn’t get underway until 2018, and it’s going to take some time after that before you see anything come out of it. Even so, the very fact that a cross-continent governmental organization is pouring that much cash into the technology is telling. It reflects a belief that real-world quantum computing is relatively close at hand, and that it just needs a boost (albeit a very expensive one) to escape the lab.