Toespraak van minister Kamp bij de start van de samenwerking tussen QuTech en Microsoft

Toespraak van minister Kamp (EZ) bij de start van de samenwerking tussen QuTech en Microsoft in Delft op 1 juni 2017. De toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Mr. Pritchard, Professor Van der Hagen, Professor Kouwenhoven, Professor Hanson, Mr. De Krom, ladies and gentlemen,

The first time I visited QuTech was here, in Delft, in February 2013. I had just become Minister of Economic Affairs.

Professor Kouwenhoven told me about Majorana particles, which brought Delft worldwide attention in 2012.

He told me about the scope for a new kind of computer far more powerful thananything we can imagine now, based on bits that can be zeros and ones at the same time. 

I can’t say I fully understood everything he told me.  But I stuck with the professor and heard him out.  His story seemed so promising that I checked with experts in the field and commissioned a number of studies.

Now, with my term as minister coming to an end, it’s special for me to be here again.

I may still not understand the specifics of quantum mechanics, but one thing is obvious: your state-of-the-art knowledge could produce applications that have an enormous impact on our society. And that will strengthen the Dutch economy.

Global challenges, Dutch solutions.

I have followed QuTech's development with great interest.

In 2013, the dialogue between TU Delft and the Ministry of Economic Affairs led to the launch of QuTech, as a partnership betweenTU Delft and TNO. Since then, the size of the institute has doubled each year, becoming a magnet for talent and industrial investment.

In 2014, the Dutch government proclaimed QuTech a ‘National Icon’ – a testament to the potential that the Netherlands sees inQuTech.

And the success story continues. 

QuTech was already working with Microsoft, and went on to attract Intel as a second large industrial partner. And reached several scientific milestones.

Take Professor Hanson’s Loophole-free Bell test, which made the front page of the New York Times. What’s more: during the Dutch EU Presidency last year, we worked to pushquantum technologies to the top of the European agenda. Successfully, I might add: a European flagship initiative is now being set up, with a budget of 1 billion euros.

Ladies and gentlemen,

2017 marks another significant step in QuTech’s development: Microsoft Station Q’s arrival in Delft. And that’s what we’re celebrating here.

Mr Pritchard, on behalf of the Dutch government it is my great pleasure to welcome Station Q to Delft and the Netherlands. I understand you’ve been with Microsoft almost from the start. I’m sure that during your career you’ve seen up close everything that technology has brought us, and perhaps what it has in store for us too.

Microsoft has been working closely with Professor Kouwenhoven since 2010. The partnership has proven so successful that you have decided to establish a Microsoft R&D lab on this campus. 1 of only 4 such labs in the world. I believe that Delft has found an ambitious partner in Microsoft, and vice versa.

Microsoft is truly driving innovation.

One example of that innovation is the project you’ll be working on with QuTechhere at Station Q Delft: the topological quantum computer.

If I understand it correctly, this is a version of the quantum computer that allows the ‘qubits’ – the building blocks of the quantum computer – to remain stable for a longer period of time.
This prevents errors and makes it easier for the machine to be assembled.

That’s the theory, at least. Whether it’s actually possible, still needs to be proved in the labs and cleanrooms downstairs.

I hope you find a way to engineer the topological qubit soon. That would be a big achievement for this facility. But also a necessary next step for us all.

The world may not know that it needs quantum computing. People may not even know what it is. But the experts tell us that the impact of quantum computers will be enormous.

Quantum computers will be powerful enough to help us decipher the mathematics behind the most intricate processes. They will help us craft personalised medicines and new materials. And increase our cybersecurity.

Promises like these are what you – and us– are investing in right now.

That is the beauty of science and innovation – they can answer questions we haven’t even asked ourselves yet.

That's how it was with the first computers, and with the internet. At first we weren’t sure of what they could do for us. In fact, many people were downright sceptical. But now we can’t imagine life without them.

Such innovations – innovations we all need – can only flourish in the right climate. I firmly believe the Netherlands has such a climate.

We have strong universities for basic research. We have professional institutes for applied sciences, like TNO. And we have the means to work together with industry, to transfer technologies to markets. Microsoft wouldn’t be here today if these conditions were not in place.

The partnership you’ve agreed is a typical example of Dutch open innovation. Our economy has always been open and internationally oriented, and we are always looking for collaborations that make us stronger.

That’s why I’m delighted that QuTech has found a strong partner in Microsoft.

I believe that Microsoft and QuTech joining forces could be the start of something even bigger. The launch of Station Q Delft may be the first step towards a ‘Q-Campus’.

A place where public and private partners work together to reach individual and common goals, and share research facilities. An ecosystem filled with start-ups, labs,local authorities, suppliers and investors. 1 like the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.

QuTech and Microsoft could form the heart of a Dutch quantum technology ecosystem,together with Intel and others, right here in Delft.