This article features an interview with Joe Fitzsimons, the CEO and founder of Horizon Quantum Computing. At the TNW conference on June 16, Fitzsimons will speak at a session entitled, “Is Quantum Computing the Future of Finance?” To see the talk — and all the other action at Europe’s leading tech festival — buy a ticket here.
For startups, this offers both promise and danger. It’s ominous that practical use cases don’t emerge for years — if at all. But when they do occur, the potential applications and revenues are unimaginable — and untapped.
With untold riches beckoning, budding industry leaders are willing to play the long game.
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“With quantum computing, there’s no real benefit today,” Joe Fitzsimons, CEO and founder of Horizon Quantum Computing says TNW.
“It’s a milestone coming up – and hopefully quite soon – but we haven’t reached that point yet. For everyone in space, it is still about driving as much technological progress as possible.”
Fitzsimons has pushed this progression throughout his career. After a baby step into the quantum realm at Oxford University, Fitzsimons moved to Singapore for a period in quantum research, before moving from academia to industry.
In 2018, Fitzsimons founded Horizon. The startup is currently developing a system that automatically constructs quantum algorithms from classical code.
In November, the company announced a major step in its mission to become a quantum computing powerhouse: its first European hub — and first office outside of Singapore — will open soon in Dublin.
The expansion is designed to leverage the impressive talent and potential customer base in Europe, one of the world’s most important markets for quantum computing.
Fitzsimons had many reasons for choosing Europe – and Dublin – as the first stop for Horizon’s global expansion. They include a favorable technology ecosystem, ease of doing business and supportive legal structures. But perhaps its biggest draw is its potential to close the quantum talent gap.
It is a major constraint for the industry. According to research from McKinsey, yes only one qualified quantum candidate available for every three quantum vacancies. The consultancy predicts that less than 50% of quantum computing jobs can be filled by 2025.
Ireland offers a unique solution to this problem. An attractive tax regime attracted many of Silicon Valley’s biggest names to make the emerald island their European home. Adding their influx to a young population belonging to the world highly educated and a pioneer quantum program bee Trinity CollegeDublin has spawned a deep pool of technical talent.
“You can rent from both the UK and the EU.
Since Brexit, the Dublin pipeline has only become more attractive. Ireland is now the largest English-speaking country in the EU and has an incomparable relationship with the UK.
“You have the advantage of being able to hire visa-free from both the UK and the EU,” says Fitzsimons. “And that’s a really big advantage, because quantum computing talent is spread worldwide.”
In Europe, that talent has spread across a thriving array of quantum computing leaders. They include quantum internet experiments Tu Delft in the Netherlands; ion capture near Austria AQT; control systems bee Zurich instruments; quantum algorithms in the UK Stage craft; dilution refrigerators at BlueFors in Helsinki; and quantum processing units in Finland IQM quantum computers.
It’s a formidable set of pioneers, but they still have huge hurdles to overcome.
Around the world, quantum computing startups face a range of challenges, from crippling calculation errors Unpleasant eye-watering costs. In Europe, there are still some obstacles on the road to profitability
One of the problems is ubiquitous in technical articles: access to capital at a late stage. While Europe is known for its scientific research, it lacks the growth funding to develop global technology leaders.
In quantum computing, the problem of fundraising has an additional dimension: investors must be extremely patient. Over time, their rewards can be incredible. analysts expect the quantum advantage expand in all aspects of society – but it won’t happen overnight.
“It takes a lot of work, so you need patient capital,” says Fitzsimons.
Unfortunately, funding is not Europe’s only shortcoming. A recent report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) highlighted three other issues: national silos, a lack of tech giants to consolidate the industry, and difficulty converting academic talent into quantum professionals.
To mitigate these problems, BCG advises the EU to encourage a private sector that can scale, create business-oriented quantum talent and connecting all of the block’s quantum computing efforts.
It is a discouraging plea to EU leaders. In the notoriously weird in the world of quantum computing, the effects of investments are difficult to predict. Nevertheless, Fitzsimons is confident that they will pay off.
“Essentially, you’re talking about what computing could be all over again — and the benefit of that is huge.”
Joe Fitzsimons is one of many tech stars speaking at the TNW conference on June 15-16. Tickets for the event are available here.