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“France must build an ecosystem of quantum technologies”

Tribune. We are at the dawn of a technological revolution. Stemming from the discoveries of quantum physics, the possibility of manipulating elementary particles (electrons, ions, atoms, photons) paves the way for breakthroughs in fields such as computing, communications, metrology or cybersecurity. The strategy consulting firm BCG has identified around thirty use cases, and a value creation of between 25 and 50 billion euros by 2030.

The digital giants, Google and IBM in the lead, are developing prototypes of increasingly powerful quantum computers. This race for quantum technologies is also mobilizing governments, starting with those of China and the United States. The UK and Germany initiated a national strategy several years ago.

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And France? The year 2020 began with the submission of the report by MP Paula Forteza (French abroad, ex-LRM), and should have ended with the announcement of a strategic plan (“Quantum: the technological shift that France will not miss ”). The health crisis has delayed its launch, now expected for the first months of 2021. However, there is an urgent need, because without a strong and rapid commitment from the State to assert its academic, industrial and economic ambitions, France will not be able to catch up. his delay.

Exception

Beyond this plan, our country must absolutely build an ecosystem of quantum technologies. We already have several essential bricks. A very high level research, first of all, around three poles located in Paris, Saclay and Grenoble. A portfolio of high quality start-ups, then, such as Pasqal, Qubit Pharmaceuticals, Alice & Bob, C12, Quandela, Cryptonext or VeriQloud.

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Investment structures, finally, whether public, with Bpifrance’s Deeptech plan, or private, with Quantonation, a pioneer in seed funding for these technologies. This nascent ecosystem is starting to take shape, in particular around the Le Lab quantique think tank, created in 2018 to bring together start-ups, manufacturers, SMEs and mid-caps. The Ile-de-France region is supporting through it an original approach, the “Quantum Pack”, to develop use cases.

But the picture is still incomplete. One point must focus all attention: most of our large companies have not realized this revolution. A handful of leading industrial groups have started to mobilize, such as Atos, Thales, Orange, Air Liquide and Airbus, but they remain the exception when they should be the rule.

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