08 Mar 2022

D-Wave and Forschungszentrum Jülich Launch First European Commercial Quantum Computer

Guest blog: Allison Schwartz, Vice-President, Global Government Relations and Public Affairs Leader at D-Wave writes on the announcement of the first commercial quantum computing system in Europe, marking the expansion of practical quantum computing in the region.

During a commissioning ceremony on 17 January, Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger, North Rhine-Westphalia Minister President Hendrik Wüst, EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, and Canadian Ambassador Stéphane Dion were joined by D-Wave, CaixaBank, Durham University, and Forschungszentrum Jülich Supercomputing Centre to announce the first commercial quantum computing system in Europe, marking the expansion of practical quantum computing in the region.

As the world’s first commercial supplier of quantum computers, D-Wave is leading the development and delivery of quantum computing systems, software, and services, and is the only company developing both annealing and gate-model quantum systems. As the Practical Quantum Computing Company, our mission is to unlock the power of quantum computng today to benefit business and society. We are focused on delivering quantum offerings and access, built to provide customer value for commercial use. By expanding our physical system to the European region– which will allow developers, businesses, governments, and researchers seamless and efficient access to the system – we are furthering our commitment to this mission. Spanning a wide range of diverse industries, these applications include examples in airline scheduling, quantum chemistry simulation, manufacturing optimization, preventative health care, portfolio optimization and logistics.


Why is a European based practical quantum computing system important for the UK?

The United Kingdom, and the broader European continent, is a region with a strong desire for quantum computing. The UK government has heavily invested in the National Quantum Technologies Programme which is aiming to bring quantum technology out of laboratories and into commercialized markets. Government programs are working to balance the near-term uses while also supporting the advancement of the science in the long-term.

Along with governments, many European corporations are also looking into the value of integrating quantum technology into their businesses today. The quantum computer at Jülich, now available through D-Wave’s Leap cloud system, provides access to a European based D-Wave Advantage™ quantum system containing our 5,000+ qubit system with the latest performance advancements just released last fall. This system marks the first-ever annealing quantum computer and the first commercial quantum computing system physically located in Europe, part of the larger Jülich User Infrastructure for Quantum Computing (JUNIQ).

With the government’s recent consultation paper focusing on evidence for near-term application development, the European system at Jülich can provide an avenue to achieving these goals.


What can practical quantum computing do currently?

D-Wave’s systems, which have been available to European users via the cloud since 2019, are particularly suitable for solving difficult optimization problems. Optimization use cases are ubiquitous in industry and are interesting because of their computational complexity. To date, our customers have developed hundreds of early quantum applications in a variety of industries.

In the retail sector, for example, Canadian grocery chain Save-On-Foods is using D-Wave's services to manage in-store logistics more efficiently. Additionally, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline found advancements when using quantum computing for their mRNA codon optimization problem. In the automotive sector, Volkswagen developed a pilot that has shown an 80% reduction in waste when using quantum computing to optimize their paint shop processes. In Japan, Groovenauts built an application which demonstrated that it could collect waste more efficiently and reduced CO2 emissions by nearly 60%.

But it’s not just about commercial use; governments can also use the system for key public sector initiatives, such as pandemic or emergency response, 5G and broadband roll out efforts, energy resilience, sustainability, just to name a few.

UK’s Durham University has been using the D-Wave system for many years, “Researchers have been working with D-Wave for the last 4 years and are excited to see our quantum computing research on efficient wireless sensor networks gain traction,” said Michael Spannowsky, Director of the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology at Durham University. “Successful early quantum applications are integral to the future of academic research and how that research can impact businesses and governments. That’s why being able to access a European-specific system is critical for forward-thinking European organizations looking to solve highly complex problems today.” 

Further, CaixaBank, a leading Spanish financial services company, has seen promise within financial services. “Quantum computing is already becoming a useful tool for the financial services industry, providing more efficiency and producing better outcomes compared to traditional technologies. Having streamlined and efficient access to quantum technology will produce significant value-creation opportunities for European organizations. That's why the addition of an Advantage system here in Europe is so relevant,” said Gonzalo Gortazar, CEO, CaixaBank.

Ultimately, the new system has the potential to foster a robust quantum economy, help forward-thinking organizations develop mission-critical applications, and provide necessary workforce development and training for the next generation of quantum experts.


How to get started?

D-Wave's systems are being used by some of the world's most advanced organizations, including Forschungszentrum Jülich, NEC, Volkswagen, DENSO, Lockheed Martin, USC, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. D-Wave has a program, D-Wave Launch, which helps to on-board users and is  designed to help enterprises go from problem discovery through production implementation utilizing quantum hybrid solutions.

By: Allison Schwartz, Vice-President, Global Government Relations and Public Affairs Leader at D-Wave


Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK

Laura is techUK’s Head of Programme for Technology and Innovation.

She supports the application and expansion of emerging technologies, including Quantum Computing, High-Performance Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies, across the UK. As part of this, she works alongside techUK members and UK Government to champion long-term and sustainable innovation policy that will ensure the UK is a pioneer in science and technology

Before joining techUK, Laura worked internationally as a conference researcher and producer covering enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. This included being part of the strategic team at London Tech Week.

Laura has a degree in History (BA Hons) from Durham University, focussing on regional social history. Outside of work she loves reading, travelling and supporting rugby team St. Helens, where she is from.

[email protected]

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