Norway has no official quantum strategy or agenda, nor any dedicated investments. This is a sharp contrast to our closest neighbours, which have already invested hundreds of millionsof Euros from public and private investors for developing quantum hardware. It may be too late and too expensive for Norway to join the race for developing quantum hardware, but there is a lot of potential when it comes to quantum software.
Without the proper software, any computer – even a quantum computer – is just a pile of metal, silicon and plastic. The history of computing has taught us the importance of developing the hardware and software in tandem, and there is growing concern internationally that the software side of quantum technology development is falling behind.
Why does this matter? The colossal power of quantum computing means it will impact systems that are fundamentally important to people and society. This demands extreme system dependability, in which hardware and software function together seamlessly, reliably, and securely. This is hard enough with traditional computing systems, but the implications for quantum computers, and the threats to modern digital society, are much greater.
Norway has a strong international standing for performing impactful software research. The surge for R&D on quantum software and post-quantum cryptography is a perfect opportunity for Norway to collaborate closely with international expertise in the Nordics, EU and beyond, to become an attractive, complementary partner in quantum computing R&D.
Quantum computing is still in its infancy - it will still take time before really powerful, scalable quantum computers become a reality, if at all. And yet it is already clear that quantum technologies are making significant impact, and the opportunity for taking strong positions in this development is narrowing. As a modern, digital society it is crucial that Norway starts developing a national quantum strategy and allocates corresponding investments now. If not, we risk falling so far behind that we will not only lack the technical competence and measures to be an attractive partner in this development, but will also become dependent on the technology from other countries when it comes to privacy and national digital security in a post-quantum world.
Together with partners at OsloMet and Sigma2, and drawing on inputs from other Norwegian stakeholders and international collaborators, Simula has produced a position paper that aims to inspire the work of developing a national quantum strategy. While quantum computing would naturally be the principal focus in such a strategy, the position paper argues for including the full span of quantum technology; other interested parties are encouraged to contribute their ideas and input such that Norway’s strategy can be built on a broad knowledge base.
What else is Simula doing about quantum computing?
Developing software for quantum systems cannot simply rely on classical approaches for software engineering. This is why Simula, in close collaboration with OsloMet, Sigma2 and SINTEF, is building new research activity in the quantum computing field. Simula’s researchers Shaukat Ali and Tao Yue are two of the international scientific leaders currently shaping Quantum software engineering as a new research field and discipline. The aim is to enable cost-effective and scalable development of dependable quantum software through all stages of development, modelling and testing.
The full position paper "Contributions Towards a Quantum Computing Strategy" is available from qcnorway.no.
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