France has a strong background in developing and researching quantum computing and quantum technology. With world-class research institutes and government agencies, the country is one of the leaders on the European continent and the world stage for quantum innovation.
The Quantum Insider should warn you, however, as the title says, this is a “short” an outline of the quantum technology industry in France, and we’ve only covered a small part of what’s actually going on. If we miss someone or anything, please don’t take it personally – we’re only human after all.
In early 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron announced his country intends to build a “quantum plan” for France worth around 1.8 billion euros over the next five years. Since then, the country has been busy. Just last December, Macron announced the sending of “the first diplomatic telegram encrypted using post-quantum cryptography” to the French embassy in Washington, a clear signal that France is serious about PQC and other areas of quantum technology.
That same month, France agreed to deepen collaboration with the US in quantum information science, part of the previous Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement the two countries signed in 2018 and the Joint Statement on Science and Technology Cooperation signed in 2021.
Institut Quantique (IQ), a joint research institute between Université de Sherbrooke in Canada and Université Grenoble Alpes in France, focuses on quantum computing, quantum communications and quantum materials.
CEA-Leti, whose research institute is located in Grenoble, has a research program on quantum computing, including research on superconducting qubits and quantum simulation.
Others include École Polytechnique — Center for Theoretical Physics (CPHT), based in Palaiseau, Loria — Classical and QUAntum Models of Computing (MOCQUA) and Sorbonne Université and its Quantum Information Center.
France has a thriving quantum private sector, with more than a dozen startups in the space. Here’s an example:
Pasqal was founded in 2019 and is building a programmable quantum simulator using the atomic array of neutral atoms.
Alice & Bob is a company working to build a quantum computer that is both error-corrected and fault-tolerant.
Quandela is another. The Paris-based startup is developing high-performance devices for quantum optical applications.
On the financial side, venture capital firm Quantonation specializes in quantum technology by investing in startups working on quantum computing, quantum communications, and quantum sensing.
Despite being a publicly traded company, the French multinational Thales Group specializes in electronics and defense, but now has a quantum research program focused on quantum cryptography and quantum sensing.
Here are some of the key people working to make France’s quantum ecosystem one of the best in the world:
Alain Aspect is a physicist known for his experimental work on quantum entanglement. For this, he was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger, “for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of the Bell inequality and pioneering quantum information science”. Aspect is Augustin Fresnel Professor at the Institut d’Optique Graduate School, France, Professor at Ecole Polytechnique, France, Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies and assistant professor at City University, Hong Kong, and a distinguished scholar.
Along with this, Aspect is also involved in the commercial side, as he is the co-founder and scientific adviser to Pasqal.
Another individual that makes quantum more accessible is Christophe Jurczak, founder and partner at Quantonation, Treasurer and Director at The Unitary Fund — a non-profit organization that helps create a quantum technology ecosystem that benefits people — as well as serving as Mentor at Duality Accelerator, an accelerator supporting the next generation of startups focused on quantum science and technology . Jurczak also joins quantum startup Welinq, which provides high-performance quantum memory to deploy our full-stack, hardware-agnostic quantum link solution to link multiple quantum processing units.
Clearly France has a strong presence in global quantum computing. With high-end research institutes, an abundant supply of startups, venture capital companies and companies all contributing to the development of quantum technology, the country will play an important role in the future.
For further reading on the French quantum technology landscape, please see our French National Quantum Update, which is published monthly and this detailed report. Here. In addition, on June 13 French Quantum the conference took place at Station F, Paris.
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