Official launch of the Quantum Portugal Initiative

February 14, 2019


On behalf of the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, we hereby invite you to take part in the public presentation of the Quantum Portugal Initiative, Friday, February 15th, 16h30, at INL, Braga.

There is an urgent need for institutions and countries to face the “Quantum” challenge offering a new wave of scientific and technological innovations. Quantum Science & Technology will be of uttermost importance for the successful digitalisation of Europe and an essential element in the development of the European Economy in the next decade. It is necessary to gather critical mass and to train PhD students in the broadest sense of Quantum Science and Technology.

In this context, FCT – Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, has decided to launch a Quantum Portugal Initiative in order to be competitive and to train PhD students in the area of quantum science and technology. To that end, a first step in the Quantum Portugal Initiative is to open a special call containing 24 PhD Scholarships in the field of Quantum Science and Technology, which will be managed by INL – The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, by mandate of FCT, within a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed this February 15th, 2019.

The demand for experts with know-how and understanding of Quantum Technologies is increasing steadily. At this point, quantum computer experts in academia are being hired by companies offering many career opportunities for researchers and engineers with a background in quantum technologies.

The new paradigm of Quantum computation is based on the principles of quantum mechanics and presents a new approach to the way we process information. Quantum computers are powerful enough to help develop new drugs and materials or even simulate the spread of pandemics. Quantum Computing is much more than an incremental transformation to what we already knew. It is a truly innovative transformation that goes beyond the classic laws of physics.

Quantum computers have the potential to solve challenging issues that are impossible to handle with conventional electronics, anticipating a revolution in solving problems in science and business. Quantum computing is particularly useful not only for scientific research, but also for financial risk analysis, inventory management and supply chains optimisation, facial recognition, or even artificial intelligence.

In the last few years, many significant developments in the area of quantum technologies have occurred that have the potential to unleash several disruptive technologies that go under the name of the “Second Quantum Revolution”, including:

1.The beginning of a race to develop quantum computers between major IT companies, such as IBM, Intel, Google, Microsoft and others. IBM has announced prototypes with 50 quantum bits, based on superconducting technology, a tool that is also being explored by Google. Intel is betting also in semiconducting technologies, and Microsoft’s bet is on an approach based on topological quantum bits using quantum materials.

2. The launching of several quantum programming languages and online platforms that permit free access to small quantum computers.

3. The launching of a satellite able to perform quantum communications with entangled photons by the Chinese government.

The Quantum Portugal Initiative will be presented at INL, Braga at 16.30, Friday, Feb 15.

Program for the launch of the Quantum Portugal Initiative:

>> 16.30 | Opening and Introduction of the need for a specialised program, Prof. Lars Montelius, DG INL

>> 16.40 | Introduction to the PhD Program, Prof. Paulo Ferrão, President, FCT

>> 16.50 | Quantum Technologies: What is it about? Prof. Nuno Peres, UMinho/INL

>> 17.00 | Quantum Readiness level Industry partner, Ingolf Witmann, IBM Q Ambassadors Program EMEA

>> 17.20 | Concluding remarks, Prof. Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education

>> 17.30 | Signing Ceremony, FCT – INL The event is free but with mandatory registration here.