High performance computing (HPC), or supercomputing, offers a way to solve complex issues and future challenges. Quantum technology makes use of ‘the properties of quantum mechanics – the interactions of molecules, atoms and even smaller particles like photons and electrons’, turning impossible tasks into viable options.
The rapid development of technologies and the ever-changing digital transformation are changing the way computers work, how data is being processed, and the way we understand the world. The quantum future of Europe as a global leader depends on attracting the best talents, upskilling existing competences and skills, and supporting the quantum knowledge base in Europe.
Nowadays, HPC and quantum technology is used in various areas, such as cybersecurity, drug design and testing, manufacturing, bioengineering, weather forecast and helps us understand complex phenomena like epidemics and disease. European Union actions in this area (EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, EuroQCI, European Quantum Flagship) will make supercomputing and quantum computing resources available and accessible to all citizens of Europe, no matter where they are located.
In particular, the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) is investing in learning and training opportunities that will enhance the knowledge in Quantum Computing in Europe. The new Work Programmes for 2021-2022 set out part of the actions to be implemented in the first two years, outlining the objectives and specific topic areas that will receive a total of €1.98 billion in funding. Three calls within this first set tackle advanced digital skills, including Quantum Computing.
To unlock the potential of HPC and quantum technologies and advance their applications in Europe, not only are new policies, innovative initiatives or investments in R&D needed, but also the reskilling and upskilling of the workforce. HPC is a game changer in technology, bringing about the need for more advanced programming skills, such as parallel programming, and a mix of soft and highly-technical skills – necessary to drive forward the twin digital and green transition. One facilitator on this path is a common language and a point of reference for diverse stakeholders, such as the first version of the European Competence Framework on Quantum Technologies produced by QTEdu CSA in May 2021. This framework is a starting point for planning and structuring a variety of educational and training projects in Quantum Technologies, e.g., master programs at universities, training programs for the industry workforce, or educational research initiatives.
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