back to article Germany bankrolls effort to build home-grown quantum systems

Germany is getting more serious about quantum computing with the foundation of the QSolid project which aims to build a complete quantum computer based on cutting-edge native technology. QSolid has been formed by a consortium of 25 German companies and research institutions, backed by funding from the country’s Federal …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't quantum bullshit?

    I thought this was all just pretend. Are we now entering a time where it isn't - or is it still something that won't happen for another 500yrs?

    1. ffeog

      Re: Isn't quantum bullshit?

      It both is and isn't bullshit that won't happen for another 500yrs. We won't know until its built and the superposition hand-wave function collapses by being looked at. Or something. Ponder that.

    2. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Isn't quantum bullshit?

      Quantum computing is like Fusion power, it sounds great, when it becomes commercially functional it will revolutionise how things operate on Earth, BUT it's fecking hard to make work.

      From the Outside looking in, it always looks like a waste of cash with nothing happening. From the inside, it look s like things are progressing, just very very slowly. As you would expect for developing something thats not been done before.

      As such, it's another technology that appears to always be 20 years away. See also Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, flying cars, regular Supersonic transport, space hotels, and so on and so forth...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Isn't quantum bullshit?

        We are humans. There are visionary humans that continually strive to push the boundaries of knowledge and achievement and there are humans that don't want to know what might be over the horizon. Without the former we would be "cave dwellers" with short life spans. There also might not be rapid climate change. What a paradox.

  2. Justthefacts Silver badge

    Broken funding model

    It’s an exciting technology, and likely could work in a decade.

    But this funding model is crazy. €76m spread over *25 institutions* and five years, is €600k per institution per year. That’s basically five researchers per institution. And each institution will have its own ideas of “working on something interesting”, that don’t drive the whole project forward. Occasionally they will meet to argue, and then separate to go their own way again, and publish their own “interesting thing”. Utterly pointless. Notice how already one institution is going to “develop error avoidance methods based on artificial intelligence (AI) at the firmware level”. Really? This is just CV-padding. And it’s 1/25th of the total resources on the project, with a dozen more like it.

    Compare that to starting a focused 100 researcher institute, with strong leadership and vision and funding it properly. Same price. But it probably would have produced solid results. No wonder China is eating Europe’s lunch in R&D on this sort of thing.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Broken funding model

      In Germany, working with multiple institutes on projects is not uncommon. When I was at DLR working on a Space Project, we had 8 different Institutes working on it, spread all across Germany. Each institute worked on different aspects - 1 was primary design, 1 was simulation, 1 was project management and co-ordination, others focused on specific subsystems, etc. Each focused on their area of expertise.

      So as long as there is a central command structure, there really is no reason why 25 institutes couldnt work on this far more complex topic then I was involved in. Naturally, more money for the science would of course be better, but at least this is a start...

      1. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: Broken funding model

        Yes, I’m well aware that is how things are done in Germany. Particularly in the space industry, which I worked in for many years. It’s broken. Badly broken.

        “Project Management and Coordination” done by a *separate institution* from where the real work is being carried out? Do you have *any idea* how dysfunctional that it is?

        And “Design” separated from “Simulation”? This is engineering gibberish. It is one reason why I chose to leave the industry. As a project manager, I could routinely deliver 5x-10x functional product in commercial electronics and software companies compared to the bizarre processes of the space R&D.

        1. lglethal Silver badge

          Re: Broken funding model

          I'm sorry but what you're writing is bollocks. In this day and age remote management is not difficult. Telecons, videoconferencing, data transfers are all easy. It's just easy to transfer data to another institute half a country away, as it is to transfer it to a colleague in the next building.

          Why would you bring Simulation in house when it's a function that another institute specialises in. It's also something you don't need every day, so you bring it in house for the people to sit there most of the time doing nothing? Or you have to delegate people to learn it and then only work on it part time? All of these are bad options compared to outsourcing it to professionals.

          And separating management from engineering can often be a bit help, letting people get on with there tasks without being micro managed.

          We delivered on time and cost and all worked well. Every project is different, but ruling out using multiple institutes just because you've had a bad experience is stupid. Giving work out to the experts, when it makes sense to do so, is something every firm does. If you try to bring everything in house, your going to fail due to cost, and the trouble of getting experts to join you and move halfway across the country.

          You don't like it, fine. Doesn't mean it's going to fall...

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: Broken funding model

            You can’t silo skills like that. If you do, all you get is a sausage machine where the output just matches the original concept. This usually “meets cost and time”, but is useless. Designers need end-to-end skills to be good designers, it’s the only way to go round the loop.

            As to management: if all you think management consists of is Gantt charts and deliverable data transfers, then yes that’s all you will get.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Broken funding model

      Australia has exactly what you have described: - The Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. It's been around for many years (Bob Clark was working on QC in the 1990s at UNSW). This German project looks like an attempt to compete. The UK launched the National Quantum Computing Centre in 2020.

      1. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: Broken funding model

        Thank you - I wasn’t aware.

        And look at the publications list of that institute. Mostly Nature, or Nature Communications (!) or Phys Review. And hardware-focused, with engineering scale-up, some materials research, and a bit of quantum information theory. And that, folks, is what quality research looks like, with stellar impact factor.

    3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Who Else has Stores of and Access to the Unknown and Top Secret WMD?

      No wonder China is eating Europe’s lunch in R&D on this sort of thing. ..... Justthefacts

      A fearsome and certainly rightly worrying fact also causing Uncle Sam more than just passing temporary concerns, Justthefacts .........

      “S&E [Science & Engineering] investments and capabilities are growing globally and, in some cases, the growth in other countries has outpaced that of the U.S.,” said Ellen Ochoa, chair of the board. The nation is falling behind China in important areas such as growth in research-and-development investment, the manufacturing of critical emerging technologies and patents for innovative systems, according to the National Science Board’s “State of U.S. Science and Engineering 2022” report.

      “The United States’ role as the world’s foremost performer of R&D is changing as Asia continues to increase its investments,” the study said. ...... Algorithmic Warfare: China Outpacing U.S. in Key Science Metrics

      However, it is not a case of there not being acres of money for lavish spending and generous quiet granting to interesting parties/worthy individuals, for the world is awash and prone drowning and downing itself with flash cash slush funding, it is the proven lack of national, and now also virtual internetional intelligence in former key leading historical traditional and conventional players/bankers/adventure funders.

      They just cannot yet see, nor do they yet know what they are missing and what has totally overtaken them and will now shortly fundamentally and radically completely overwhelm and annihilate them should they persist in expecting the future in the present to be maintained and sustained in any similar manner to the past without new key vital players in Absolute Command with Remote Virulent Viral and Vivacious Virtual Control.

      It's time for AI Change which is long overdue, is it not? Computers say Yes. What say You? And if it is not Yes, who/what do you imagine will be listening and taking heed and trying to effectively halt novel noble progress and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT?

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