AU researchers to prevent quantum computer bubble

A team of Danish researchers at the Department of Management at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, is to prepare European companies for a future revolution in computing: The quantum computer. With the prospect of a huge global market, the European Commission has earmarked an annual sum of EUR 1 billion for 10 years to enable the EU to lead the way in quantum computing by 2030. For the first time, Danish researchers will participate in coordinating the efforts to achieve this goal.

Overheating and bubbles have in the past marked major IT breakthroughs, and it can cost companies dearly. Now AU researchers from the Department of Management at Aarhus BSS must try to prevent the coming computer revolution, the quantum computer, from being hit by similar bubbles. Photo: Adobe Stock

A leap in quantum computing is on the way, and with processing power beyond anything we can currently imagine, the quantum computer will revolutionise the digital world as we know it. In the wake of this revolution, a global market estimated to reach up to USD 1,000 billion by 2040 will emerge and create up to 10 million new jobs on a global scale. 

We do not know when the quantum computer will be ready. It might take 5, 10 or 20 years. But it will arrive, and China, the US and the EU have invested large sums of public sector funding in the race to lead the way in this field. 

“The quantum industry that will follow in the wake of this computer will not emerge from one day to the next. It will have been a long time coming, and it has already begun to develop. This is why it is important for companies to prepare for the quantum revolution by making the right investments and training the right workforce. They need to be ready. But this must be done wisely to prevent the market from overheating before the computer has even arrived, and to prevent new tech bubbles as the ones we have seen previously,” says professor with special responsibilities Jacob Sherson from the Department of Management at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University. 

We can utilize the knowledge we have at the Department of Business Management about previous IT revolutions and how different industries are developing.

Jacob Sherson, professor MSO at Department of management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University.

“First mover” or pending

Together with his colleagues at the Department of Management, he is to contribute to the project by analysing which industries and sectors will benefit the most from preparing themselves, and – not least – how and when they should do so to avoid turning up either too early or too late for the revolution. 

“In the 1990s, we saw how shattered expectations for artificial intelligence (AI) led to an AI winter that lasted until the 2010s. At the Department of Management, we can utilise our knowledge of previous tech revolutions and the development within different industries to ensure that this time, companies place their investments in the right order, and to help them decide whether they should be first movers or await further development,” says Jacob Sherson. 

A different aspect of preparing for the future quantum revolution is training company staff, another area in which Jacob Sherson and his fellow researchers are to make a contribution. 

“Many different groups of professionals will need insight into quantum computing at some level. For this reason, it is important to develop a shared language and a framework for which competencies and skills the companies will need,” he says. 

The grant for the analyses totals DKK 50 million, and AU’s share is DKK 5 million. 

Facts about the quantum computer: 

The standard computers that we know today have bits that are either 0 or 1. In a quantum computer, it is possible for a quantum bit to be 0 and 1 at the same time. This significantly increases processing power and means that a quantum computer will be able to solve problems that are way too advanced for even our current supercomputers. In fact, a quantum computer will be able to break any code we know of today in a very short amount of time. 

But quantum computers will also be able to solve some of the large-scale challenges the world is facing today, e.g. in relation to climate change, food shortages, energy optimisation, logistics and health. 

"The quantum computer is on its way, but it has not arrived yet. Quantum bits are very sensitive and do not last very long. It is estimated that we will need approximately 1 million quantum bits before we have a functioning quantum computer. Right now, the record high is about 100 quantum bits,” Jacob Sherson explains. 

Facts about the project

Vi bestræber os på at leve op til Danske Universiteters principper for god forskningskommunikation. Derfor er artiklen suppleret med følgende oplysninger:

Type of study Grant
External collaborators Ten other participants in EU Coordination and Support Action: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, et aux Energies Alternatives, European Quantum Industry Consortium, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Fundació Institut de Ciències Fotòniques, Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-natuurwetenschappelijk on derzoek, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Portuguese Quantum Institute, Aarhus University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. 
Ekstern finansiering EU Digital Europe Programme
Conflicts of interest None
Contact information Professor with special responsibilities Jacob Sherson 
Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University 
Phone: +45 28775765