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The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

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The Role of Quantum Computers in Responding to Global Challenges
4 June 2021
17:00—18:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
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There are numerous global challenges that quantum technologies can solve. At the same time, though, it’s important to know that they can’t solve all of them [...] This isn’t some kind of race with one country against another country. This is the race of humanity against nature because it is so difficult to create and manipulate quantum systems. The fact is that physicists and the academic community and no country can cope with this alone, — Tommaso Calarco, Professor, Jülich Research Centre.

The quantum computer, on the one hand, is one of the greatest breakthroughs of the next decade, and on the other hand, one of the biggest challenges, — Ekaterina Solntseva, Chief Digital Officer, State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM.

On the one hand, we are in the 1950s, if you look at the history of classical computers, but on the other hand, we already know what software is and what a cloud platform is. In fact, all the processes are developing in parallel and a lot of quantum startups are now being sold, the very same software startups for computers that do not yet exist. Computers seem to exist, but they solve small problems, — Ruslan Yunusov, Head, National Quantum Laboratory (NQL).

ISSUES
Energy consumption

Everyone’s heard that Moore’s Law is no longer valid [...] So, the problem is not even that Moore’s quantum law itself has broken, but that, as Tommaso Calarco said, energy consumption for each logical operation is still an important thing. At this rate, in 15–20 years, all the energy that is produced by humanity should be spent on ordinary classical calculations. Of course, we cannot afford it, — Ruslan Yunusov, Head, National Quantum Laboratory (NQL).

Tech producers don’t get money from innovation

The Internet was invented in Europe at CERN, and where is the money from the Internet revolution now? Google got all that money. Internet giants in the US took all the profits for themselves, — Tommaso Calarco, Professor, Jülich Research Centre.

New professions need to be created after the advent of the quantum computer

If we understand that a quantum computer will turn the world upside down, then surely a lot of new professions will be needed in this upside-down world, — Ruslan Yunusov, Head, National Quantum Laboratory (NQL).

Reluctance of venture investors to interact with quantum technologies

Of course, maybe we are getting ahead of ourselves with this thing [...] I’m not talking about enthusiasts, but about real venture financing. I think we need to wait ten years. This is when it will happen – ten years. That means we really need to wait five years, when venture capitalists will start looking there intensively [...] Five years is the timeframe because in five years, investors expect that something can already be touched and earned, — Alexander Galitsky, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Almaz Capital .

Desire to develop a scientific idea to the bitter end

I heard a contradiction at this forum, when someone said, I won’t name the people from the government who said that it’s essential to invest in a scientific idea, and then push, push, push it to victory at some corporation. That’s wrong because everything should come from the economy, and then science should serve it, — Alexander Galitsky, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Almaz Capital .

The quantum industry needs more than investment

In this case, unfortunately, money is an essential but not a sufficient condition. Especially public funds, because when you have seemingly allocated money and think that everything should then work out, this won’t work with a quantum computer [...] It’s not enough to give money, hire people, make a roadmap, set KPIs, and just monitor. That’s not sufficient, — Dmitry Zauers, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprombank.

SOLUTIONS
Build quantum NISQ machines

At present, we are living in the NISQ [Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum] era and we have small quantum computers with 50 qubits that can solve problems. So, we don’t need to reach billions of qubits. We need several hundred to carry out quantum simulations and develop new materials, for example. After that, we will begin to see the first benefits, — Tommaso Calarco, Professor, Jülich Research Centre.

Ensure industry participants are confident about generating income

Cash is the result of this [Internet] revolution – it has fallen into other hands. We need to give European industry confidence whether the word is given or not, — Tommaso Calarco, Professor, Jülich Research Centre.

Search for the benefits of technology

Of course, when we talk about technology, we should think about the benefits it will bring [...] Quantum computers will soon become useful for the economy, for the population, and for business, — Dmitry Zauers, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprombank.

There are tasks that appear very simple, but when you start solving them, it turns out that they are incredibly complex and beyond the power of any supercomputer. One of the tasks for Airbus was: imagine you have an airplane and you need to stow suitcases in it as tightly as possible. Let’s imagine they are all rectangular and slightly different in size. And stowing such luggage, which consists of several hundred suitcases, as ideally as possible cannot be solved on classic supercomputers. This is one of the challenges for a quantum computer. Other more global goals are to reduce fuel consumption. If Airbus achieves real progress, the wing shape will be calculated better, in a different way. Using a quantum computer wherever it can help is one of the steps to reducing overall hydrocarbon emissions on the planet, — Ruslan Yunusov, Head, National Quantum Laboratory (NQL).

We have piloted quantum cryptography on our own channels. And they showed that you can protect critical infrastructure in an entirely reliable manner [...] Quantum-inspired algorithms [...] show greater efficiency today than classical methods for evaluating [securities] portfolios [...] As for finance, credit scoring, and predictive analytics associated with assessing customer behaviour, it’s all machine learning today. So, as soon as a quantum computer is made [...], it will provide a serious breakthrough for all industries, including the financial industry, — Dmitry Zauers, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprombank.

State assistance in building the industry

If we’re talking about a breakthrough and far-reaching things, of course, the government is first and foremost [in terms of investment], because this is its target objective – to provide the next generation with some kind of gains or some kind of victories [...] The government is responsible for looking far ahead, of course, and then corporations look at this and actually conduct scientific research, — Alexander Galitsky, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Almaz Capital .

The government clearly needs to create a critical mass because otherwise no one believes that this will take place someday [...] It’s crucial to create conditions in which people won’t be afraid that tomorrow someone will come to check that they need to fulfil certain KPIs and tick the boxes. It’s essential to grant the right to make mistakes and create a sense of freedom among scientists. Because these are the only situations in which they can create, — Dmitry Zauers, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprombank.

This [means] involving universities in these projects. And this is also a form, on the one hand, of financial support because universities receive money from the state and then spend money on such research and educational programmes. And this [means] infrastructure, i.e., laboratories, of course, which are also usually located on university campuses or research centres. The state plays a huge role at this stage, but, I stress, in different forms, and not necessarily solely in a purely financial form. In this regard, Skolkovo is not a state itself, but it is an agent of the state or an operator of the state for these projects, — Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman, Skolkovo Foundation.

Invest in quantum technology

If we’re talking about investment, no one bothers today to invest in fairly easy projects that are not capital-intensive, for example, related to software things. Because this needs to be done and it doesn’t cost much, — Dmitry Zauers, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprombank.

Of course, we will continue to give grants and tax preferences to innovative projects. This can wholly affect individual projects that are around the core of this quantum theme, which will inevitably grow at some point so that they will enjoy this support. But financial support from the Skolkovo Foundation is not what’s more important. Our contribution is connecting everyone as they gradually move from an idea to, at least, an initial product, where investors can then swoop in. Indeed, the private sector can take on these projects, — Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman, Skolkovo Foundation.

Quantum technologies need to be regulated

It’s crucial that these technologies be used in a controlled manner from the outset, — Tommaso Calarco, Professor, Jülich Research Centre.