3.6 The European flavor, vision and goals

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In comparison with the international QIPC programs, the characteristics of the European effort are its broader scope, beyond the focus on specific issues like security or special applications like factoring, as for example in the US and in Australia. Moreover, there is a much stronger theoretical component and emphasis on fundamental physics. Clearly, Europe has achieved a critical mass in this much broader context of QIPC which includes both theoretical and experimental physics: atomic physics, quantum optics and laser physics, high energy and mathematical physics, condensed matter, etc., as well as from other disciplines like computer science, mathematics, material science, several areas in engineering, etc.

The European vision is to advance quantum information processing in such a wider context which includes the spectrum from fundamental quantum physics to applications in science and engineering.

Novelty and Innovation
To remain competitive Europe should nurture QIS technology innovation from fundamental research

One of the most challenging aspects in creating a new technology is the transition of basic research with its accompanying spin-off technologies, into more application driven research where inherently QIS based applications are researched and developed. The earliest such QIS-driven application is quantum cryptography with a number of QCrypto SMEs already in operation worldwide. General purpose quantum computation, e.g. for factoring of large integers and related applications maybe a long-term goal. But quantum memories/repeaters and multiparty QIS software, will be developed in the next five years with the potential for even greater innovation and SME/Multinational commercialisation. Although there have been efforts by the US and others to make this transition to a more innovation based QIS research community, they have not succeeded so far and Europe, through FP6 QIPC-PI, has the opportunity to begin facilitating this transition and in this way could gain at least a two-year competitive advantage over others. The particular emphasis by the project QAP to build a complete QIS R&D pipeline from fundamental research in computer science, quantum algorithms and quantum information theory through to experimental development, where the overall emphasis is to develop truly QIS based applications in the medium-term, is unique in the world. No other nation/continent has managed to create such a synergy. Some of the FET-PI QIPC Integrated Projects contain over 13% industrial partner effort and this connection to industry will be proactively targeted and ramped up over the coming five years through the cooperative efforts of FET-PI QIPC IPs. The inclusion of a variety of QIS projects, some focused on fundamental research and some focused on applications, in the FET-PI will put Europe in a strategic position worldwide.

QIS research is expanding beyond its traditional boundaries as device complexity grows and many different physical QIS elements are integrated

There is a convergence of many information technologies towards QIS. Examples include, integrated photonics research both linear & nonlinear, quantum effects in nanotechnology & materials science, interfacing classical information systems with quantum-atomic systems, quantum solid-state systems, and quantum photonic-systems. Such emerging plurality of QIS is already recognized by the NSF, where QIS R&D has a presence in many Divisions of the NSF, e.g. Physics, Computer-Communication Foundations, Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and Information Technology Research Divisions. Thus, the QIS portfolio encompasses some of the E-Nano and molecular-ICT R&D effort.

European Research Area
QIS has the potential to bring the vision of a true European Research Area into being

QIS R&D is expanding throughout Europe with significant New-States contributions (Poland/Slovakia). The European QIS research community is well organized (thanks to previous networking initiatives by the EC), and many nations will work coherently in a recently funded ERA-NET project covering partially Quantum Information Science and Technology (CHIST-ERA). The creation of a truly European Research Area is essential and justifies additional funds for the QIPC programme.