Quantum Technologies

More public money in the EU than in the USA

We talked to Austrian quantum pioneer Georg Gesek about the potential applications in industry today.

While IBM, AWS, Google and Co. are working on the first commercial applications for native quantum computers, Vienna is becoming the center of the technological transition. The Austrian-Swiss joint venture QMware launched Europe’s first hybrid quantum cloud earlier this year, greatly facilitating the industrial use of quantum technology. The highlight: With the help of virtual quantum processors, it is possible to use quantum algorithms in classical high-performance applications.

INDUSTRIEMAGAZIN: Mr. Gesek, quantum technology haslong been held out as a promising technology in industry. What can already be implemented today? What can already be implemented today?

Georg Gesek: First of all, you have to understand that quantum technology is a very broad field. We have first-generation applications in the industry. And in truth, these have been going on for many decades – from nuclear power plants to MRI scanners. Now, however, we have reached the point where the spectrum of possible applications is expanding dramatically. This is due to the fact that we are able to use industrial processes to build very small structures, governed by quantum physical principles, in large series. I am thinking here, for example, of chip technology, which has already advanced into the nanometer range. Quantum technological effects prevail there, but they are considered to be interference effects. In quantum electronics, however, these effects are then used for the positive, and as a result, we promise a very wide range of applications in industry.


„We alreadyoffer a commercially relevant advantage for hybrid quantum algorithms today with our virtualization.”

Georg Gesek, CTO and co-founder QMware and CEO and founder Novarion




Which of the sub-aspects of quantum technologyare you involved with?

Gesek: At Novarion and QMware, we deal with the IT side. There are essentially three major areas: Metrology, information security systems, and then there’s quantum computing. With quantum computing, it is important to understand that it is not an isolated technology. It is an extension of the conventional high-performance computers known as exascale computers. So we are augmenting these systems with quantum processors. And in the process, we are confronted with many questions: How does integration work? What does this mean for the user side? What developer tools do you need for this?

With QMware, you presented the first hybrid cloud solutionin Vienna this year, and in Germany you are involved in setting up the first German quantum cloudfor industrial users. What can you already implementwith this solution today?

Gesek: This is about Advanced Quantum Inspired Computing. The British mathematician Alan Touring already told us in the 1930s that classical calculators can compute any algorithm in this universe. So also quantum algorithms. In the future, this should be done faster and more efficiently on native quantum processors. With our hybrid approach, we can simulate up to 40 qbits with our machines. The advantage of this is that there are no quantum errors compared to native quantum computers. And thus we can already take advantage of quantum technology in the field of optimization and artificial intelligence.

What is the advantage of the hybrid approach?

Gesek: In our case, the special feature is that we have created a virtualization layer for QPUs. This means that the application does not even notice whether it is a simulation or a native processor. We thus create 40 algorithmic Qbits. If you look at a quantum circuit by itself, the modern native QPUs are already more powerful than the simulation. However, there is no application for it yet. All algorithms of interest to industry that optimize anything are hybrid systems. On the one hand, a lot of classical processing is necessary to execute the algorithms. And on the other hand, fast switching between classical and quantum processing is necessary so that all this can be realized in the machine.

What distinguishes your solutionfrom the offerings of the IT giants, which have been providing quantum computing-as-a-service for several years now?

Gesek: They don’t have a workable solution yet. They are counting on the native QPUs having the corresponding performance in the future. It will be years before that happens. Therefore, it is interesting for the industry that we can already offer an economically relevant advantage for hybrid quantum algorithms with our virtualization today. Virtualization also makes the advantage sustainable. We have created an industry standard that will allow future machines with native quantum processors to be used with the software that is being developed today. So the software does not need to be rewritten.

How easyis it for a company to get started? What kind of know-how is required?

Gesek: Quantum algorithms are linear algebra. From the basics, a software developer can learn this very quickly. It is well known that there is currently a major shortage of skilled workers in the IT sector. But by being in this innovative field and being one of the pioneers, we are in the fortunate position of having more than 200 quantum engineers at our disposal, with whom we can implement our customers’ projects very well.

In the wake of the war in Ukraine, quantum technology is often cited as a gamechanger when it comes to cybersecurity – both forthe defense and forthe attackers …

Gesek: That’s right. The simulator backends are not sufficient for this, but as soon as the native processors are ready, they will be used for this. On both sides it is the same technology, that is what is special about the situation. However, an important security factor is also the IP, which in quantum algorithms is composed of a small amount of data and is therefore vulnerable to hacker attacks. That’s why it’s important to have a dedicated European cloud infrastructure.

Europe is often seen as a laggard inthe high-tech sectorcompared to the USA and China. Is that the case in the field of quantum technology?

Gesek: The opposite is the case. We see that comparatively more public money is invested in the EU and the UK than in the US, for example. In China, the figures are not as transparent, but even in this case we assume that Europe is ahead here. Private investment is higher in North America, but we really don’t have to hide. We have significantly more graduates relevant to quantum technology in Europe, which is a significant advantage. For us, it is crucial that we ensure sovereignty in Europe in this area as well.


“We can already take advantage of quantum technology

in the areas of optimizationandartificial intelligence.”

Georg Gesek





Industriemagazin 12/2022–01/2023