GESDA is working to create an Open Quantum Institute (OQI) in Geneva with the goal of making quantum computing technology more accessible to developers around the world.
GENEVA, Switzerland, October 12, 2022 - Over the past decade, major breakthroughs have occurred in the field of quantum research, which is gaining increasing attention. Investment in the quantum computing market by governments, publicly and privately funded institutions, venture capitalists and private equity firms is expected to "reach nearly $16.4 billion by the end of 2027," according to the International Data Corporation’s November forecast. IDC says the drive to bring quantum technology to the market mirrors the earlier advent of traditional computing, which will soon lack the power to solve many of our critical problems. IDC believes the industry will continue to grow through the use of quantum in new areas and new market segments.
Established IT giants like IBM and Microsoft are among the biggest players in quantum computing, but younger companies are also competing. The U.S. dominates the sector, but nations like Canada, China and the U.K. are gaining market share. At least 17 nations are working on quantum R&D. Still, too few people have access to quantum computers today, which limits our ability to identify new applications and anticipate how the technology could impact the world in the future.
That's why GESDA wants to create the OQI: to ensure that the transformative impact of this technology is also directed toward humanity's most pressing challenges. The new institute would also develop and host a repository of potential use cases – how users can interact with the new technology – in service of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.
The OQI will provide access to a large pool of quantum computers that researchers, developers, and students can use to explore new applications.
Quantum computers could help governments make progress toward achieving five major United Nations goals: the eradication of hunger; health and well-being; clean water and sanitation; clean and affordable energy; and climate action. In some key areas, quantum computers offer a significant advantage, such as when simulating chemical and biological processes. Quantum research also has helped with optimization problems – finding the best solution from a wide range of options.
Convinced that facilitating greater access to quantum technology will help GESDA achieve its goals, particularly in relation to supporting the SDGs, GESDA’s president, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, together with the two co-chairs of the quantum task force, Matthias Troyer, vice-president of Microsoft, and Anousheh Ansari, CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, proposed the creation of the OQI in Geneva, which is home to a particularly conducive multilateral ecosystem. The proposal emerged from hundreds of ideas generated by the first Science Breakthrough Radar® and the first GESDA summit.
"Quantum computing will change the world. The excitement about quantum computers is based on the promise that these devices will solve currently intractable problems," Brabeck-Letmathe said. "Providing wider access to these uniquely powerful computers could accelerate progress in some crucial areas, enabling easier drug development, cheaper fertilizers, longer-lasting batteries and more efficient solar panels."
GESDA's proposal, which still needs further study, already has strong support. Among the academic supporters are CERN, the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology ETHZ and EPFL, the University of Geneva, University of Calgary in Canada, University of Copenhagen in Denmark, Quantum Delta NL in the Netherlands, Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany, Raman Research Institute in India, and the National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences (NITheCS) and University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa. Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation, one of Europe's largest philanthropic foundations of banking origin, also endorses the project. Initial supporting industry partners include Microsoft, AQT, AWS, IBM, IQM Quantum Computers, PASQAL, Oxford Quantum Circuits and Strangeworks. In addition, permanent missions from several countries – Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, and Switzerland – have been actively involved in defining the multilateral relevance of a future Open Quantum Institute.
About the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator Foundation (GESDA)
An independent non-profit foundation under Swiss law and a private-public partnership with the Swiss and Geneva authorities, GESDA was created in 2019 to strengthen the impact and innovation capacity of the international community through scientific and diplomatic foresight. For more information, please visit the Foundation's website at www.gesda.global.
The 2022 Summit marks the entry of GESDA into a development phase after a three-year pilot phase. This spring, the Swiss and Geneva authorities who created GESDA came to the conclusion that it had clearly established itself as a major player in the service of multilateralism, and they decided to extend and reinforce their support for GESDA for 10 more years (September 2022 - September 2032).
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