Quantum Computing in Life Sciences: Innovations and Societal Benefits

Interviewee: Lene B. Oddershede
Senior Vice President, Novo Nordisk Foundation
Interviewer: Rhian Granleese
Partner, Marks & Clerk

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Transcript

WE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING TRANSCRIPT WAS CREATED BY A ROBOT SO PLEASE FORGIVE ANY TYPOS.

[Rhian Granleese]
Hello everyone. Welcome and thank you for joining us at this next interview on dead cat live cat. Dead Cat live cat is an online quantum computing magazine formed by the law firms BLG in Canada Marks and Clerk in the UK and Zuber, Lawler in the US. Were attorneys that were also scientists, engineers and futurists focused on the likelihood the quantum computing coupled with AI are going to dramatically change our world in the next two decades. I’m Rhian Granleese. I’m a partner of Marx and Clerk. Marks and Clerk a large team of patent attorneys trademark attorneys commercialized and IP litigators have helped 1000s of businesses all over the world enforce, protect and maximize the value of their IP. Today we have Professor Lene Oddershede, Senior Vice President of the Novo Nordisk foundation joining us. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us. I attended your presentation last week at the economist commercializing quantum technology conference and you were absolutely amazing. So we appreciate you have a very busy schedule. To start with. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at the Novo Nordisk foundation?

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

Sure. Thank you, Rhian. And thank you for the very kind introduction. So I serve as a Senior Vice President at the Novo Nordisk foundation. I’ve been here for five years before that I was a professor of physics at the eternal sport Institute. That’s my background. And I work too with interdisciplinary projects you can say so I have experienced and how to make the interdisciplinary Bridge, which I suppose we’ll be talking about it as we move on to our conversation today. So as a senior vice president in the NovaLogic foundation, I am responsible for activities in the natural and technical sciences. Now the nanotech Foundation has a vision to benefit the lives of people and the sustainability of society and the planet. And so in this vision, we have a of course a strategy. And a part of that strategy is also to develop a quantum technologies in order to solve real problems in the life sciences. And that is a strategy which was formulated by my team of approximately three years ago.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

Could you elaborate a bit more on that project and the sort of Foundation’s involvement in quantum computing research and development? 

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

Yes, so the Northern Illinois Foundation has its roots in the in the pharma space, you can say it actually started by noble lord, I was co receiving the Nobel price and traveling to, to the US to celebrate where he wasn’t given the rights actually, his his wife, Marie went with him, she was suffering from Type two diabetes, which at that point back in 1922, was a lethal disease. And so they went to Toronto there, they weren’t given the rights to actually sue. So they at the celebration dinner, they happen to sit next to researchers from Toronto with reporting among others, who had just learned how to isolate insulin from the pancreas of dogs. And so there, they get really excited, and they have what’s called mediately traveled to Toronto and then he was given the rights actually to produce insulin for this Canadian market, provided that any surplus had to be reinvested into science. And now that is the reason why there’s a foundation today. Because basically what it is it’s a foundation is a charitable foundation, which own companies among these it’s Novo Nordisk, as that produces insulin, we go, we use them, but the profits need to be reinvested into research. So now, the foundation has traditionally been focused, I would say in the biomedical space. But since there’s such a huge profit prospects of using quantum technologies, also to progress the health of people and to progress, the pharmaceutical space, our understanding of biomolecules for those reasons, actually, we go into quantum technology as a foundation. Right? Yes, and we so the mission we formulated is actually to develop quantum technologies in order to solve real problems in the life sciences. And it’s important for me to say that we understand we are in it for the long haul. It does come tomorrow that we will have quantum quantum computer for instance, that is capable of of solving real problems in the life sciences, we need to be patient maybe for another 10 years or so. And that’s actually totally fine. We are in on this, you know, coming from the pharmaceutical background, the foundation is used to working with very long timelines. So typical timeline for England pharmaceuticals would be 20 years. So, interesting. ICD 10 years is not so bad.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

So how do you sell envisage quantum computing impacting into this interdisciplinary risk? Search and natural and technical sciences then.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

So if we had a larger compute capacity, in particular compute capacity that has fundamental, different way of working that has intrinsically the quantum mechanical nature of atoms, then we will be able not only to speed up calculations, but also to do entirely different calculations and types of processes. And we can build classical computers. So, a quantum computer is likely not going to outcompete classical computer, it’ll be an extra modality and extra technology. And so I foresee that in the interests of an aerospace quantum computer is going to accelerate our understanding of molecules, biomolecules, the cell, the functionality, not just a structure, also the functionality of proteins, peptides, lipids, all the basic constituents of a living system. And for that reason, of course, it’s going to strongly accelerate drug discovery to mention one thing, it will accelerate our understanding of enzymes and functionality of enzymes, which will definitely progress by technology. Also, it’s likely to accelerate the development of personalized medicine, and, of course, material science as well. But also outside of science, I mean, there are a number of areas that you could mention it that it will be like instrumental for accelerating for instance, logistics, communication, and you know, you can continue, I really think quantum technologies is, in particular quantum computer is a transforming technology, as also we see artificial intelligence being today.

 

[Rhian Granleese]

So how do you like to sell the healthcare space? For I know, how long do you think it will be if we had a crystal ball? And how far in the future do you think it’ll be before we even have quantum computers actually entry have been stream in terms of health care applications.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

So already today, of course, we do have quantum computers available of the NISC type, to noisy intermediate scale quantum computers. However, they are limited in what they can do today. And we will see over the next many years, we will see a progression. So slowly, slowly, the quantum computers will be more and more capable of making calculations that solve real problems. So the first ones to come will likely be the more simple quantum chemical problems with very simple systems. So if you ask when will have a real impact on on on, say, the life sciences and in pharma. And health, I would say, we probably would need to go into the 2000 and 30s. Because we will need to have 1 trillion, so 10 to 12, operations, error free operations, and we are definitely not there today, we may be around 10 to the fifth today. And so there’s still quite a number of orders of magnitude to go before we enter a phase where we can say that there’s real supremacy when it comes to say accelerating drug discovery. So the

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

so the limiting factor is just the ability to produce a quantum computer with an F gates at the moment, as opposed to the fact that the search algorithms if you’d like to want to run a note, are not ready. Yeah,

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

I think we really need the computer hardware to perform better than it does today. Before we can make it a real difference. But of course, all the steps which are happening today are important. And I would say likely within the next year, we’ll see the first demonstrations of the logical qubit, maybe of the couple of logical qubits, etc. That’ll be really exciting. And then an important steps moving forward. So I hope it will be sooner. But if you ask when we will have 1 trillion operations error corrected, I would say in the beginning of the ninth 2000 authorities. So that’s

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

enough, not long ago, and when you think five years ago, we were all there are certainly six years away. Yeah. Five years ago, we were just going into lockdown. Well, we have to do something there. And

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

maybe I should add that also, when we were at the, in the conference in London on the global quantum economy. Actually, the prediction I’m coming with here was the same prediction from subpoena night, who was speaking on behalf of the UK community. They also said to the 2035 was when they were expecting 1 trillion era curriculum

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

operations. No, thank you. So what are the sort of biggest challenges the foundation faces in fostering innovation in quantum computing?

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

Yeah. So the biggest challenge so today, in my opinion, we have very strong research environments all over the world. So what we are really lacking today is the convincing use case. So the end because we don’t have a convincing you As case, then we are lacking funding at the, in the value chain following the fundamental research. So today, there is globally, I would say, significant funding really significant funding going into research and going into early stage innovations. And the startup companies have a relatively easy time finding funding for Series A, maybe Series B also. But as soon as more funding is needed, say Series C, D, E, it becomes much more difficult. And this is a, this is what I see as being the major challenge is probably caused by the fact that we do not have the convincing use case today. The second we have a very convincing use case, I’m sure the VCs are going to jump on this, but they are I guess, maybe holding the horses a little bit back because we don’t have that one yet. And do you

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

think it’s just the use case? That’s that’s holding the funding back? Or is there just something in sort of electronics in general, maybe in the European Space trying to get those beyond Series B funding? Yeah.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

So I think in general, Europe has a challenge here, in that over all the European Union is it doesn’t have its largest strength in maintaining its deep tech businesses and keeping them on European ground. So what often happens is that ideas are born in Europe, they make it the first say series A Series B, but then they move out of Europe. And so if you look in Silicon Valley, you know, the people who work in those companies, they’re all from Europe, not all the large fraction, really large fraction, many of the companies actually originated from Europe. So the European Union could do better in terms of keeping value keeping technology development, keeping jobs and wealth. You know, in Europe, I think we have a major challenge there. Now,

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

that’s really interesting for children for the cold started that we both did our PhDs roughly around the same time. And once the most of my contemporaries left I was in Britain was still in the EU there, but most of my contemporaries left to go to go to the States once they got their PhDs. Yeah.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

And that is a major problem. Seen from from from European side, I mean, basically, we are generating in Europe, we’re generating the ideas, but then are harvested outside of Europe. So we need to be better. And part of that is actually to be better at investing in promising companies beyond series end.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

So do you see do you see the private sector or the public sector being the solution there?

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

I personally do not believe much in subsidiaries. I think that it’s much better if a company is really financially competitive on a global market without the subsidiaries. However, I think the European Union could make the framework more attractive for companies who are in Europe. So for instance, to be less restrictive in certain manners, for instance, on taxation, but also be careful on the regulation that you do not let we do not over regulate in comparison to other parts of the world, but much better that we coordinate regulation with other parts of the world so that the market is bigger. And also, we need to, to actually, in my opinion, to change the way in which we protect IP. And the possibilities that we give our companies for doing. So

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

what sort of changes would you want to see in the IP system? And if you don’t mind that question.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

Today, it is so in Danish universities, that IP cannot be protected in terms of trade secrets versus the legislation is so that anything that can be patented, must be disclosed, and potentially patented, if the university would like to do so. However, when you are in deep tech, in particularly in quantum, certain inventions are better protected by trade secrets. Because, you know, not some actors out there see a patent as a recipe and not as a technology that should be protected. So therefore, not all technology in particular technology that cannot be reverse engineered that is actually not well protected by patent. It’s much better protected by a trade secret. So to be able to protect technologies in terms of trade secrets, and also to be able to overall protect technologies much better and have better data structures, which will then enable also collaboration will private enterprise and business critical topics. That’s also really important. And that’s another place where at least the Danish universities, I think it’s true for all European universities, they have a difficult time maneuvering in the regulations, you know, on how to collaborate with a private enterprise and therefore, it Simply difficult or slash impossible to ever collaborate on business critical topics. And this is something which is actually needed. So the private public collaboration is something that they are excellently good at in the US, for instance. And it’s something we don’t do really well in Europe. And we should, I think we should be much better because of course, academia can benefit tremendously from collaborating more closely with the experts, which are in private enterprise and visa versa, than we do today.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

The framework projects that are popular in the EU sort of tried to sort of build that build that collaboration.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

Yeah, that’s good. But of course, we should do much more. And we need to likely also, you know, look at our legislation, look at the structures, how can we enable out

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

now, thank you. So could you talked a bit earlier on about sort of how this could be used in drug discovery that how quantum computing could be used in drug discovery? But could you sort of talk about a particular project or collaboration that sort of highlights the foundation’s commitment to advancing quantum computing?

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

Yes, so I mean, to really accelerate drug discovery will take a while before we get to that point. So we do a couple of things, one thing we do is to get started on underneath machines which are available, And to enable the researchers to use those machines to start programming those machines in order to do quantum chemistry, on such machines and symbol systems. And then another effort that we have is actually so our largest, the largest initiative we have supported until today is the Novo Nordisk foundation quantum computing program. So that we have supported by 200 million euros. And the purpose of the program is to develop fault tolerant quantum computing. And here we’re talking about a trillion error free operations. And so to do that requires, first of all, the entire stack, and it requires a collaboration, there’s no way this program will do it by itself. So a large part of this is to to identify the right and trusted collaborators at every part of the stack. And so, in the research activities, a large focus is actually on the lowest part of the stack. So the materials to really improve the quality of a quantum material, so that you know the individual atom, you know, the location of it, the the isotopic nature of the nature of the atom, the orientation, everything is controlled to much higher degree than it is today in any implementation of, of microchips. So, so I’ll first focus is actually on the material side. And for that, we have this program that I just mentioned, which is led by Peter Kaustubh, who’s a professor at the new sport Institute, University of Copenhagen that hosts the major part of the center, the hub is actually an international center that has satellites internationally, because as I said, we cannot there’s no way one research center will be able to do this by itself. So, collaboration is set up as a part of MQ CP, we have constructed what we call the quantum founded Copenhagen. Now, this is a limited liability company, which lies say, in the heart of the academic collaboration. And that is actually to mitigate the issue we just talked about, namely how to protect IP. Because we in the construction of this program, we realized we simply could not protect IP optimally in a university setting. And when we realized this, both the University and us and the foundation everybody involved, we then came to the conclusion we need to do something different. And that is why we constructed this limited liability company, which is fully owned by the Novo Nordisk foundation. So the fact that it’s owned by Illinois foundation means that we have total flexibility in how we protect IP optimally. And here we can also use all the experience we have from the pharma industry in how to be competitive, how to protect IP optimally how to still engage in meaningful collaborations. So all these will transfer to the quantum area and use it to navigate with the foundry. Also, any profit that could potentially be made in this company will be reinvested into the program. So we as a foundation will not take any profit at all from the foundry it will all be reinvested. So the real purpose is actually to develop quantum computing for the benefit of everyone.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

Thank you. So you know, quantum computer we’ve talked it’s a very rapidly evolving field, what what strategies does the foundation use to sort of stay ahead in this fast moving field?

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

I would say we listen That’s probably the most important one. So we go to conferences, we read scientific papers, we talk to the community. And very importantly, we collaborate with the front movers within quantum computing and quantum technology in general, throughout. So that’s probably the most important parts of what we do, we really try to stay connected, and stay informed. And then of course, we also actually, before we make decisions on, you know, was to fund one thing or another, or to engage in designing a program, we would always seek external advice. So for instance, we would do have an external expert committee advising us or we would we have also in the beginning of the realization of our quantum computing mission, we actually engaged with Rand Europe, and commissioned a report from them so that they could do a, an objective and research based assessment of of the global quantum environment. And we could then use that as a basis for how we would like to design or or initiatives. So we use a number of different tools in order to stay on top of the development and to stay connected. And, you know, to design our efforts in the best possible manner.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

With our rapidly advancing technical innovation. Is there ever a sort of Clash sometimes between balancing that the sort of the foundation’s mission to contribute to combat humanitarian and scientific advances?

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

No, actually not because it is well recognized by everyone in the foundation in the board, that technological development drives scientific breakthroughs. So, I mean, the technological development is essential to drive any kind of scientific breakthrough. And so quantum computing is likely going to make significant breakthroughs in healthcare, in personalized medicine, in the acceleration of drug discovery, also in understanding in somatic functionality, for instance, if you take the Nitrogenase, just take an example, which is the enzyme that converts nitrogen into ammonia, which is a process that is essential in order to feed feed the world. And that is done industrially through the haber bosch process, which is extremely energy consuming as it takes place at highly elevated temperatures and really high precious. So approximately 2% of the energy consumed in the world is exactly for the haber bosch process. And likewise, 2% of the greenhouse gas emissions are from that process. Yeah, if we could understand how the enzyme is doing this, you know, without all this energy input, I mean, then we can save 2% of the greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, we can save 2% of our energy consumption. So I strongly believe that quantum computing is going to be such a powerful tool, that it really help us get maybe even an Abinitio understanding of how biomolecules work maybe of how the cell works within lipids with everything. And that will give us an understanding of such fundamental and basic processes that are really impact a number of different areas, and be actually really essential for the strategy or the foundation

 

[Rhian Granleese]

or recent blog, just has the ability to just transform everything about the way we work. And from your perspective, the one of the ethical considerations that come with sort of advances in quantum computing technologies

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

are the ethical considerations, I would say much like those in AI. So it may concern, David, data privacy, security of data. They consider concern, of course, security in general, I would say those are probably the most important parts. So data privacy and security. So those are the ethical conundrums that I see.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

So pick up on our data privacy point in AI, you’ll need a sort of absolutely enormous training sets. And quite often when you’re dealing with sort of medical AI, yeah, you’ve got to ensure you’ve got a consent from the patients to generate that set up quite often are set gets augmented and used by other people. So there’s a there’s a bit of tech can often be a bit of a minefield there. But with quantum computing, you presumably do not need the same size of training set, but you wouldn’t know.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

probably you wouldn’t. But on the other hand, it is likely that quantum computing is going to process GDPR protected data, but since you know in in the development of personalized medicine, so I think you will have similar considerations about the ethics about the protection of the data that you have in AI. And also in addition to this couple of considerations. I don’t know exactly if they have Ethical nature, but there could be one is about economy, clearly there’s going to be a huge new economy connected to this new generation of quantum technology. So that’s a consideration which I mean, money drives the world, right? So in a way, I suppose an ethical consideration. Are you on this wave? Are you not on that wave? And what happens to you if you’re not into those safe from the Global South, maybe that have difficulty in adapting to these technologies? Because they don’t have maybe the financial means to acquire these compute facilities? And that I think, is an is worth an ethical consideration? How do we make sure that the entire world will benefit from these technologies? I think that’s important. connected to this, there is the question of the power balance. Clearly also, the global power balance is going to be impacted by the development of quantum technologies. And that’s something that I’m sure many people around the world are considering. And they I hope to do it in an ethical manner. Very, some very big questions.

 

[Rhian Granleese]

So from world leaders, and we’ve embedded resources, those starting off in their careers in quantum, how does this foundation sort of support young scientists and researchers in this field?

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

Yeah, so the Foundation provides grants that the researchers can apply for. So basically, we have, we have research grants of all types and colors, say, we have a career grounds for any part in, you know, any place in the career, to the young PhDs, the postdocs, system, professors, associate professors for professors at any time, but the career path, we have grants that are suitable for that part of the career. We have collaborative grants, we have project grants, so we supported through open competition. If I should point out maybe one particular grant, I would like to mention the fellowship programs that we have, that typically allow researchers to also to travel to a different place. And they have been trained to get acquainted with new technologies, new experts, new systems, new networks, which I think is really important. Also, we put a lot of effort in training, even the younger generation. So those who are in their studies, say bachelor programs, Master programs. And to give you an example, in a notice foundation quantum computing program, we have a large education outreach section. And now that section is headed by a person can split off. And he’s really excellent in, in designing new educational programs. And also, he has a seated in what we call the executive leadership team. So he sits like in the in the highest part of the organization. So that is a way of giving prestige, also to the educational activities. And he has a budget. So of course, you need a budget and you need, you know, the prestige, you need the power. Otherwise, you can’t take on this task of educating the next generation. And we find it essential that the academics that participate in our programs that have received grants that they all contribute to educating your next generation. So actually, we do not allow that they do not teach. Because they get a huge grant No, no, no, they need to continue to teach, and to convey, you know, the information, the expertise, everything they have to the next generation that is really high priority for us.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

So what what do you think are the sort of necessary skills and knowledge needed for sort of future researchers in in quantum computing? Yeah, he’ll set you looking for.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

I think there are going to be two types. If I can put like, we definitely need those which have the core expertise in quantum regardless of whether it’s safe the physicists or the engineers. So those may be from the more data science background, or algorithmic mathematics background, we need those, those are like the core experts. But I think we also need different types. We also need experts who may be trained in another area. So let’s say biochemists, or medical doctors, or, you know, academics that come in with a different expertise. And then they sau maybe set up as like a second degree, your second training, they, they learn, you know how to take advantage of quantum technology in their domain expertise area. And that is definitely not trivial how to do that. I don’t think we have cracked that not yet. But I think we need to do so. We need to take in experts from other areas and make sure that they know enough. Of course they don’t need a PhD in physics. But but they would need enough training, that they are able to use these technologies in a meaningful manner. And also that they are they know enough that they can be critical to see, you know, does this make sense? Am I using the technology in the right way, which requires a lot of skill actually have to be critical about how it’s used? So I would say we need both both. And of course, we need them to collaborate and to to talk to each other.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

So So would you say a sort of quantum computing module or something going in going into sort of university courses for biotechnologists or Yeah, so the medical.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

yes, and you know, even for the faculty, and one could extend that, of course, to also include experts who are working in companies. So if you have a say, logistic expert, or somebody who works in a energy related company, they could also benefit from this extra training in quantum computing and quantum technologies to learn how they may, for instance, use quantum computing to optimize inadequate transport chains or, you know, whatever problem that they are dealing with on a daily basis.

 

[Rhian Granleese]

So there’s a need for sort of strong collaboration between different disciplines. All that sort of theme of collaboration, you know, how does the foundation work with sort of international researchers and institutions globally? Yeah.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]  

So we, we have partnerships with international entities. And we, you know, coming from a very small country of five and a half million people, we it’s so deep, I would say, in our mentality that we collaborate internationally, we’ve always done so we will continue to do so we find this really important. And we need, I would say, in particular, in the quantum technology space, we need to collaborate with trusted partners. So we need to identify trusted partners, and then we need to enter into a liability collaboration with these partners. And we do so. So for instance, just again, returning to the neurology foundation quantum computing program, it says so called Set hub and satellite type of program. So it’s a hub is at the new sport Institute, University of Copenhagen. And then there are satellites in Delft in the Netherlands. There’s one in at MIT in the US, and one is being established also in on the West Coast of the US as we speak. And then of course, there’s a couple of national spokes as well. So this is just to, to exemplify that we definitely collaborate also. And here, these are just academic partners. We also include industry partners, in the if I should mention a couple of those, then we have entered a partnership with Nvidia. So, we find that crucially important because the interface between AI and quantum is a really rapidly involved evolving interface. And there’s no way we can realize on computer without having, you know, the expertise of Nvidia and their products and their technology development as a part of this development. And so, we have established a few months ago, we established a partnership with Nvidia, which includes establishing a large super computer on Danish solid called Devian sixes, super parts of the Hubble 800 GPUs. And in that collaboration, we will focus on first flagship projects or which one is quantum. So this is to say that we also collaborate with international industry, big tech industry. And we can do that in the way you know that we have set up this consortium. Also in that collaboration, we have another entity which is called a IFO, which is CO funding it. So IFO is the the Davies export and Investment Fund, which basically represents the government. So this is an example of a public private partnership, which is something that we I think we we have done a lot in Denmark and we are relatively good at it. And it’s really efficient. Also in getting all the right stakeholders on board and being agile in how we we navigate. So of course Nvidia is a really huge company. To give you an example at the other end, we also collaborate closely with startup companies like real life sciences from the UK, where which has really unique expertise in error correction, which will be for us we find it highly essential, you know, as a part of the quantum computer stack. And so we’re really delighted that they also have are setting up activities in Copenhagen. So we collaborate both with the smaller smaller newly start But quantum companies and with big tech, you know, call it international cooperation is extremely important as we see it. In particularly in this space.

 

[Rhian Granleese]  

It sounds like you’re you’re connected to potentially everybody in the in the quantum that you can’t reach natural quantum companies.

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]

Yeah, well, we will try. So, so many exciting things are going on, you know, so and

 

[Rhian Granleese]

so you’re a leader in the quantum in the quantum space? And what lessons could you pass on to other leaders in the quantum space, from your knowledge at the time from our neighbor foundation? 

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]

Yeah, so, maybe I wouldn’t say that we are not the leaders, right? We are foundation, it’s not I would do the work. It’s the researchers and the companies, which we find to do the work. So what we do in the foundation is that we enable a development. And here I can pass on some experts some some experience. So I am actually truly delighted to see the the ecosystem, which is really thriving in the larger Copenhagen area, which has received huge investments actually, over the last few years, I think, per capita per year, Denmark is now the place where the largest investments globally in quantum and so it’s the area is attracting many international investors, as well as international companies that will set up branches in Copenhagen and of course, many new research centers are also starting to appear. And so, so if I should give advice to somebody, you know, others who would like to establish a really thriving ecosystem, my main piece of advice would be that one has to consider the entire ecosystem. If you so if we look back in history in, in Denmark, so clearly the environment around Niels Bohr was important for the for the understanding and development of quantum mechanics. And so here, it was a research based activity. Today, approximately 1/3 of the global economy come relates to quantum mechanics in one way or the other. Of that, Denmark has a market share of zero. So however, of course, we got the honor the fame, you know, for the Copenhagen School of quantum mechanics, which is important, really important. But we didn’t harvest anything. So, so now we are in what you call what you know, people call the second quantum revolution. So I think it would be slightly smarter. Also, considering what happened in the semiconductor industry, the same thing happened in Europe in general. So we were at the lead, when it came to the fundamental research, however, we totally lost out when it comes to building the large factories and getting a market. Yes, in the production of microchips, we have like essentially zero. So again, there we made a mistake. So how do we do that differently in quantum, so what would be my advice here is to when we establish an ecosystem, we need to consider the entire ecosystem, yes, we should invest in research, we should also invest in the talent, this is really important, we also need to invest in innovation, we need to invest in the more mature companies. So we need to do this Series C, D, E investments, we need also the large existing companies to adopt this technology, and to understand that there will be a bifurcation. So those companies that adopt the technology, they will have a financial benefit, they will be competitive, whereas those that do not will have a harder time. So I think that would be my main advice is to remember to support the entire ecosystem don’t get lost in just one tiny part of the ecosystem. I think another important part is that we should not be nationalistic, to actually see the larger picture. Show we need to choose trusted partners with care. But there’s no way that anybody can do this by themselves.

 

[Rhian Granleese]

Or as you said, the range of technology, the range of specialists and quantum computer just the sheer number. Well, the stack is much more complex than than with classical computer. So I have a final question. So looking towards the future, I know we’ve talked about the future before, but what are your highest hopes for quantum computing applications coming out to the Foundation supported research?

 

[Lene B. Oddershede]

So my first talk is actually that we will participate in the and enable actually accelerate the development of fault tolerant quantum computing for the benefit of We’re all humankind’s and of the planet. So I hope that we will, that the efforts that we put into this will work against monopolizing this technology. So it will not only be big tech say that in the end runs with a torch, but that, you know, the broader academic space, you know, the governments around the world, also the global South, that basically, you know, the whole society will benefit from quantum computing. That will be my, you know, the grand vision.

 

[Rhian Granleese]

That sounds like a vision we should all share and professor just said that, I’d like to say thank you very much on behalf of dead cat locale to me personally, I just learned so much. Thank you very much. 

Lene B. Oddershede - Guest

Senior Vice President, Novo Nordisk Foundation

Lene joined the Novo Nordisk Foundation in 2019 to establish and lead activities in the Nat-Tech area covering the natural- and technical sciences, this including activities relating to quantum technologies and artificial intelligence.  She has a background as a Professor of physics, Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) at Copenhagen University (~20 years). Lene is a physicist, trained also in mathematics. She is an experimentalist and at the Niels Bohr Institute she constructed the first optical tweezers manipulation facility in Scandinavia. She is an expert in the interphase between quantum and the life sciences and is key designer of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Quantum Computing Programme and of the Quantum Foundry. She has been the leader of several interdisciplinary large-scale research projects, including being center leader of a Grundforskningsfond Center of Excellence. She has received several research prizes, e.g., the Danish Optical Society prize for young investigators, the Silver Medal of the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters, and the Elite Research Prize from the Danish Research Councils, the largest Danish public research prize. Lene Oddershede is a member of the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, of the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters, and of the Global Future Council for quantum economy at the World Economic Forum (WEF). Lene holds a PhD in physics from SDU, Odense, Denmark 1998.

Rhian Granleese - Host

Partner, Marks & Clerk

Rhian qualified as a patent attorney last century and her practice has grown to encompass most topics that fall under the general headings of electronics and physics. She has particular experience in the fields of: semiconductors, quantum effect devices, memory architecture, medical devices, magnetic devices, optics, telecommunication networks, fabrication techniques; and mathematical modelling. Rhian graduated with an honours degree in natural sciences from Cambridge University, specialising in her final year in physics and theoretical physics. She stayed at Cambridge for a further three years in the Semiconductor Physics Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, gaining her doctorate in research into optical and transport semiconductor devices fabricated by molecular beam epitaxy regrowth. She became a Partner in 2001.

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