Queen Maxima ‘opens’ supercomputer (credits: Vera Duivenvoorden)

September 14, 2021

Fourteen quadrillion. That is the number of calculations the new national supercomputer Snellius can make per second. This powerful machine will greatly enhance the capacity of Dutch researchers to address scientific challenges such as climate change or analysis of the coronavirus. Queen Máxima performed the official inauguration of the supercomputer at the Amsterdam Science Park. Snellius was financed with a grant of 18 million euros from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (via NWO) and 2 million euros from SURF, the collaborative organisation for ICT in Dutch education and research.

New opportunities for researchers

One of the speakers at the opening ceremony was climate scientist Henk Dijkstra, who described the new possibilities that Snellius will create for his research:

‘It can help us to answer new questions about the impact that the increasing greenhouse gas emissions are currently having on the climate. We will also be able to make more detailed projections for the climate in the future, particularly in relation to the occurrence of extreme weather events such as heatwaves and excessive rainfall. You need a supercomputer because of the enormous number of calculations and the volume of data required to make those forecasts. Performing these types of calculations on a laptop is virtually impossible.’

NWO president Marcel Levi endorses that view:

‘The process of digitisation taking place in every domain of science means that every scientist needs computing capacity. Easy access to computing power is essential if researchers in the Netherlands are to continue conducting cutting-edge research in the future.’

A powerful computer

Every scientist in the Netherlands will have access to Snellius. The supercomputer, which is located in the Amsterdam Science Park, will be managed by SURF. An important criterion was that the new computer should be as energy-efficient as possible. The computer was built by Lenovo, which used water-cooling technology that cools the system more efficiently and greatly reduces the need for air cooling with fans. The system will be expanded in stages over the coming years and will ultimately have a peak performance of 14 petaflop/s, making it the most powerful high-performance computing system in the Netherlands. Through the use of the latest generation of graphics processing units (GPUs), the computer is also well suited for machine learning.

Investment in digitisation

The methods of processing research data and sources are changing rapidly. Datasets are not only much larger, but also more complex. In its coalition agreement, the present government earmarked funds to strengthen the country’s IT infrastructure with a view to ensuring the country remains competitive in the changing digital landscape. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science then asked NWO to draw up a detailed plan for the disbursement of the planned investments, for which NWO was allocated incentive funding of 40 million euros. In addition to making the Snellius supercomputer possible, the funds are intended for projects to make data more accessible, to improve the digital infrastructure, and to create more powerful computing capacity and more storage capacity.

Also read

Longread CWI – about how CWI researchers have relied on this powerful machine since the purchase of the first national supercomputer in 1984: from testing security keys to simulating gas and liquid flows and electrical discharges. 

With this online matchmaking platform we bring together various parties from science, industry, professional practice and legislation that want to contribute to the acceptance and implementation of existing animal-free models for safety assessment.

The goal is to jointly develop scientific and practice-oriented research proposals and concrete adaptation measures, with a focus on the acceptance, usability and implementation of existing animal-free models. We strive for broad consortia in which researchers and other stakeholders from various domains work together intensively.

We organize this matchmaking within the framework of the NWA program Safety assessment via animal-free models.

Program

The online meeting on October 28 offers a varied and interactive program for exchanging ideas for projects and making new contacts. The program in outline (see also Agenda):

  • 09:00-09:25 Welcome and Introduction NWA-call
  • 09:25-09:50 Invited Speaker – TBA
  • 09:50-10:10 Break-out sessions
  • 10:10-10:25 Short break and 1:1 meetings
  • 10:25-10:50 Pitches
  • 10:50-11:05 Introduction Impact Plan Approach
  • 11:05-11:20 Short break and 1:1 meetings
  • 11:20-11:50 Break-out sessions
  • 11:50-12.30 End of meeting

After registration, you will have access to the online sessions via Agenda.

You can schedule the 1-on-1 conversations immediately after registration (go to How it works for instructions)

Platform: oppurtunities for new collaborations

To facilitate matchmaking as optimally as possible, we offer a matchmaking platform in addition to this event. After registering you will gain access to this platform, which offers you various options for seeking expertise and forming new collaborations with parties from various sectors. See How it works for further information.

With this platform we hope to contribute to the creation of new networks, which will not only have added value for this NWA program, but also for other initiatives or future programs. The platform will exist at least until the deadline for submission of summary applications (November 12, 2021).

Information about the call

For more information about the call for proposals, please visit NWA call.

Professor Lieven Vandersypen (Photography: Studio Oostrum)

NWO has announced that our Director Research Lieven Vandersypen is awarded the NWO Spinoza Prize. The Spinoza Prize is the highest award in Dutch Science. Each laureate receives 2.5 million euros, which they can spend on scientific research and activities related to knowledge utilisation.

Lieven Vandersypen (1972) is Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor of Quantum Nanoscience at TU Delft and Director Research at QuTech. Vandersypen enjoys a worldwide reputation for his pioneering work in quantum computing, the branch of science devoted to developing a computer based on the mysterious phenomena of quantum mechanics.

Quantum computers can resolve mathematical problems that are too complex for even the best supercomputers, such as calculating the properties of molecules and materials. Accordingly, they could help to solve major societal challenges in domains such as energy, security and health. Lieven Vandersypen aims to find uses for nature’s most fundamental properties and has been pursuing that goal by conducting cutting-edge experiments in the field of quantum computing for more than twenty years.

During his doctoral research, Vandersypen already realized a world-wide first: he used the so-called spins of atomic nuclei in molecules as quantum bits, or qubits, the building blocks of a quantum computer. Using seven qubits, he was able to break down the number 15 into the factors 3 and 5, thus demonstrating that making calculations with qubits is not only possible in theory, but also in practice.

After obtaining his PhD, Vandersypen switched his attention from nuclear spins in molecules to the spins of electrons in quantum dots, minuscule objects made from semiconductor materials that are governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. They resemble transistors in many respects and can therefore be used to integrate large numbers of qubits in a chip. He was the first to manipulate individual electron spins, with both magnetic and electric fields. He was later also the first to implement quantum algorithms on two of those electron spins and to show the quantum interaction between an electron spin and a microwave photon. He also demonstrated that the same quantum dots could be used to study exotic forms of magnetism.

Vandersypen is not only an outstanding scientist, but also a visionary who advances his discipline through collaboration with partners in science and other domains. For example, he was one of the founders of the research institute QuTech, a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO, and persuaded the American corporation Intel to enter into a long-term partnership with QuTech. Vandersypen is also one of the architects of the demonstration project Quantum Inspire, the first European online quantum computer with which users can perform calculations from home with two different types of qubits.

Vandersypen is a highly decorated scientist who has received a number of prestigious grants for his research projects, including a Vidi and a Vici grant and ERC Starting Investigator, Synergy and Advanced grants. He has considerable experience in leading large groups of researchers, engineers, technicians and support staff and is attracts outstanding international students, PhD candidates and postdocs. Ten former group members have already formed their own research groups at prestigious institutions around the world.

The Spinoza committee is convinced that with his qualities, vision and drive and his excellent network of academic and private partners, Lieven Vandersypen will be able to make the further major scientific and technological breakthroughs that are required to realise the full potential of the quantum computer in the coming years.

Source: NWO Spinoza
Also read this article from QuTech, Vandersypen is one of the founders of the research institute QuTech, a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO.

The international MicroNanoConference is the MinacNed conference for and by members. We are organizing this conference together with a group of members from both industry and science. These enthusiastic volunteers bring their own background and network to set up a program for the iMNC21.

From surveys we have taken after past iMNC events we have learned that participants see great value in the networking opportunities at the iMNC. An online platform offers fewer networking opportunities, therefore the organization has focused on an event in the Jaarbeurs, Utrecht.

With that in mind, this year’s iMNC21 location had been reserved, an international group of speakers had been invited and a fantastic program was set up that addresses both technical themes and more societal themes. However, for a successful event we not only need a well-organized and substantive program, but above all we also need the commitment and support of participants and exhibitors.

In these times of great uncertainty due to the Covid-19 measures, it turns out to be extremely difficult to get sufficient certainty in time to organize a conference with a large (international) participation.

As a result, we saw two risks arising. There was a risk (due to insufficient participants and sponsors) that the costs would be higher than the income. There was an equally great risk for participants and for exhibitors who invest in an event that would not offer sufficient networking opportunities to achieve the objectives. As MinacNed and the entire team organizing the iMNC21, we must avoid these risks. That is why the MinacNed board has unfortunately had to decide to cancel the iMNC21 conference this year.

The board of MinacNed would like to thank all members, OC and PC committee members and all those involved who have already committed themselves to the preparations for their contributions and also apologize because these preparations will unfortunately not lead to the iMNC21.

The team is currently working out whether the lecture program that has been put together for iMNC21 can be presented in a different way. This could be organized either in small local events or online. It is not yet clear in what form and on what dates these events will take place. We will keep you informed.

iMNC21 cancelled – explantation from MinacNed board (pdf)

Aging, type 2 diabetes, shortage of healthcare personnel; our society is facing major challenges that require more knowledge and groundbreaking innovations. This offers opportunities for scientists, companies and public parties. NWO is responding to this by investing more than €100 million annually through various subsidy instruments in research in which public and private parties work together.

The role of SME’s

In order to achieve social and economic impact, the participation of SMEs is necessary and is therefore an important partner in research in all instruments. By sharing knowledge and collaborating on innovations, research results can be translated into solutions for society. For research that is financed within the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC), NWO applies incentives to involve SME’s more. NWO has opened 2 new instruments. om het MKB beter te betrekken.

About the instruments from NWO

  1. In ‘Question for Partners’, a public and/or private partner develops a research program in partnership with NWO around a specific knowledge and/or development question. The partner is a co-funder (min. €1.5 million in cash) in the program and NWO will double this amount. This instrument is therefore particularly suitable for (a combination of) public and/or private parties that want to initiate a thematic research program of a considerable size.
  2. In ‘Question for Consortia’ a consortium of knowledge institutes, public and private parties contribute to a research proprosal to find answer to a self-chosen knowledge or development question.

The financial NWO contribution to these instruments is available for fundamental and practice-oriented research, carried out by scientists in collaboration with companies. The degree of co-financing by private parties for these instruments is set at 50%, and at least 30% of the total size of the partnership.

More information about these and other research programmes can be found here www.nwo.nl/kic.

Source: HollandBio news

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, August 24th 2021 – Nikon Europe B.V. has announced that it is to open its first Nikon BioImaging Lab (NBIL) in Europe. Building on the success of the NBIL in Cambridge Massachusetts (USA) and the recently opened NBIL in the Shonan iPark, Fujisawa City (Japan), Nikon has chosen to base the European NBIL in the prestigious Leiden Bio Science Park (LBSP), the largest life sciences cluster in the Netherlands.

Dr. Volodymyr Nechyporuk-Zloy, NBIL manager, commented“We are really excited to be about to launch the new NBIL in one of the top five most successful life sciences parks in Europe. Our message to the many life science and healthcare businesses in the area – we are coming and want to support your technology. NBIL-Leiden will offer cutting-edge, full imaging service solutions as well as the services of expert biologists and microscopists, who are available to provide quality cell culture, sample preparation, data acquisition and data analysis services. NBIL-Leiden is here to provide you with expert imaging support – on demand.”

Director of Stichting Leiden Bio Science Park, Ida Haisma, welcomes Nikon Europe to the LBSP, “We are very pleased that Nikon has chosen the Leiden Bio Science Park (LBSP) for its Nikon BioImaging Lab. We believe that the shared services that Nikon offers through this facility will be very beneficial to the attractiveness of the LBSP. It will also boost the LBSP’s transformation into an Innovation District! In addition the NBIL will fulfil a long-standing wish from many start-up and medium sized companies as well as researchers at the different institutes located at the LBSP.”

NBIL-Leiden will provide private companies and academic institutes with a unique opportunity to use the latest microscope technology, develop core skills in a wide range of sample preparation and microscopy imaging experiments, as well as increasing their networking opportunities through similar communities across Europe. Support will include Nikon’s market-leading systems for confocal, super-resolution microscopy and high content imaging. Furthermore, the advanced image analysis service on powerful workstations with data storage and management systems will be provided.

Nikon Europe B.V. is grateful for the assistance of InnovationQuarter, the regional economic development agency for the Province of Zuid-Holland, which assisted us in finding the right location and helped coordinate communication to develop the partnership with the Leiden Bio Science Park.

Engineering high-quality microparticles to create disruptive solutions that improve life quality: that’s what our team at IamFluidics is passionate about. We have a strong focus on technological innovations in microfluidics and materials for different markets, such as pharma and drug delivery.

A feasibility grant from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) enabled us to start a proof of concept study. This proof of concept is a start to develop our capabilities in the pharmaceutical market. The project aims at the development of controlled-release systems based on PLGA (Poly Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid). This PLGA polymer is the golden standard in long-acting release products in the pharmaceutical market. IamFluidics’ high-quality microencapsulation processes are a perfect match for tuning the injectability and release properties of microparticles with controlling their exact size, shape, and surface area.

Want to know more about the markets we focus our researches and developments on? Make sure you read more about SenSpherePluriLife and ApiBead and reach out if you want to experience the benefits first-hand. Look out for our latest articles on our social media and website for the latest developments concerning this proof of concept.

Source: IamFluidics news

As we are returning from summer holidays and planning for the second half of 2021, the iMNC21 team looks forward to greet more exhibitors who will present on December 2 and 3, 2021 in Utrecht.

The scientific program has a nice balance between speakers from industry and science on various topic ranging from Nano4Health in diagnostics, Nano4AgriFood to miniaturization and manufacturing in nanotechnology amongst the themes.

Business floor opportunities

Next to the keynote and invited speakers in the conference program, themes, there is room for networking and discussion on the business floor where participants can check demonstrations and meet with technical teams from the sponsors over a cup of coffee.

A pitch session for exhibitors will give all attendees a quick overview of who is presenting at iMNC21 and will make it easier to find the right connection for your next project.

Startup corner

At the iMNC21 we welcome startup companies who will receive a discount price, to make sure that all companies have the opportunity to present at iMNC21. Join Alex Kostenko from Photosynthetic, the Pitch Award winner of the iMNC2020 at the conference this year.

iMNC21 exhibitor benefits

As an exhibitor, you will also have a prominent place on the iMNC21 event website and in the matchmaking program from B2Match. Visibility and expanding your network are important goals that we help our exhibitors to achieve in the months leading up to the conference and at the event.

Will your company join companies like JEOL, Lionix International, MASER Engineering and Bronkhorst at the conference in December? Sign up for your booth today, to make sure you have a spot.

Read more about the exhibitor opportunities here or  download the sponsor brochure direct (pdf).

QuiX Quantum, the worldwide market leader in quantum photonic processors, has delivered a 12-mode quantum photonic processor to Germany, for a collaboration with researchers from Paderborn University.  This photonic processor is the most powerful in the world.

Quantum photonic processors are the central component of photonic quantum computers, holding great promises in performing certain computations faster than current supercomputers. Machine learning, chemistry and finance are believed to be revolutionized by such quantum technology.

QuiX Quantum lead engineer Caterina Taballione says: “This collaboration confirms the continuing interest in our products from the major players in the international quantum photonics landscape. Paderborn University is at the forefront of integrated optics, and we look forward to the results of this collaboration.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the announcement of a sale to Qontrol, a British quantum technologies startup, and a sale to Quandela, the leading French quantum technologies firm. Prof Christine Silberhorn, head of the Integrated Quantum Optics group and spokeswoman of the Institute for Photonic Quantum Systems (PhoQS), says: “We have chosen QuiX because of the high quality, turnkey linear optical circuit as used for demonstrating quantum advantage in boson sampling experiments, that only QuiX can deliver.

QUIX | Forward.one – Vrijdag 22 januari 2021 | © Verkijk

Germany has recently published its ‘Roadmap Quantencomputing’, which sketches the required steps on the way towards a working quantum computer. As a result, the German government announced a 2 billion Euro funding initiative for the development of quantum technologies in general and quantum computers in particular.

The success that QuiX Quantum’ products are having highlights the dominant position of photonics in the quantum computing landscape in the Netherlands, being the only able to provide turn-key quantum solutions.

From left to right: Ton van ‘t Noordende (Investor in Residence, Quantum Delta NL), Matthijs Rijlaarsdam (QuantWare). Alessandro Bruno (QuantWare), Freeke Heijman (director Quantum Delta NL). Photos by Rebekka Mell, in the DiCarlo Lab (QuTech).

Quantum Delta NL announces the launch of a two million euro micro fund called ‘LightSpeed Fund 1’. The fund will focus on supporting early stage quantum startups. Delft-based startup and participant in the LightSpeed program, QuantWare, is the first startup to receive funding.

The fund is part of Quantum Delta NL’s strategic roadmap to increase the number of successful quantum startups in the Netherlands. Currently, there are seven quantum startups in the Netherlands, and Quantum Delta NL is on a mission to see this number increase to 100 by 2027. These companies are considered to become of great value to the Dutch economy.

In pursuit of this goal, last month Quantum Delta NL launched its new initiative, LightSpeed. Lightspeed is a program connecting Dutch quantum startups in all phases, where the startups receive tailored assistance and guidance to scale up their businesses and optimize their attractiveness to top-tier investors. Specifically for the initiative, efforts were made to approach and bring in European and American funds with a wealth of experience to support startups. Lightspeed aims to create optimal conditions to build sustainable and future-proof startups.

Fund

Following today’s launch of the micro fund, managed by LightSpeed, Quantum Delta NL awards pre-seed tickets amounting to 50,000 euros each to early-stage startups in the field of quantum technology. LightSpeed adapted a modern instrument that is straightforward, founder-friendly and fills the gap in the earliest stage for quantum technology startups: the SAFE note (Simple Agreement for Future Equity). This approach gives startups the maximum flexibility needed in the earliest stages, particularly in the quantum technology space as development timelines and road to profitability extend far beyond that of classic startups. The investment does not have to be repaid, as with a traditional  convertible loan or note, if a startup fails to advance.

Quantum Delta NL’s Investor in Residence Ton van ‘t Noordende clarifies: “The Netherlands has a top position globally if we look at the number of quantum technology startups. This is unfortunately not the case on the capital side as there is virtually no professional venture capital available for early stage quantum startups. Our goal with Lightspeed is to enable founders to get the best possible start of their company.”

Quantum Delta NL has currently allocated two million euros for the pre-seed tickets and intends to award 5 to 15 tickets in fiscal year 2021/2022 and 35 to 40 tickets over the total period. The budget will be increased once Phase 1 of the National Growth Fund Program is underway.

QuantWare

QuantWare, a spinout of QuTech and part of the Quantum Delft ecosystem which develops high-performance quantum processors, is the first startup to tap into the microfund as part of a larger investment round. This makes it the second success story in the LightSpeed program. LightSpeed has also supported and guided the Delft-based startup QphoX in their fundraising round, which raised two million euros in funding with the help of the LightSpeed team to bring its Quantum Modem to the market.

Ambition

Startups and building a business ecosystem are key pillars of the Quantum Delta NL-program that heard it will receive  615 million euros from the National Growth Fund in April. Among other things, the program fuels the further development of the first European quantum computer and a quantum internet, openly accessible to end users in business and social sectors, including education. McKinsey calculated that in the medium term, the program will raise the gross domestic product by 5 to 7 billion euros and create 30,000 high-quality jobs in the Netherlands.

Freeke Heijman, director Quantum Delta NL: “We want the knowledge from the scientific labs to lead to new businesses in the Netherlands and Europe. With LightSpeed and this fund, promising initiatives will get an unprecedented acceleration to scale up their idea to a startup or scale-up.”

Ton van ‘t Noordende, Investor in Residence Quantum Delta NL: “We see the micro fund as a logical extension of LightSpeed. Promising and early stage initiatives only need a small injection of capital to hit the ground running. This is proven by QuantWare which, relying on our investment and on Lightspeed’s guidance, has raised immediate market capital even before launching their company.”

Alessandro Bruno, Director of Engineering at QuantWare: “The support from this fund and LightSpeed will allow us to bring our quantum processors to market. In doing so, we are making quantum accessible to more parties. In this way, we can make a crucial contribution that allows the Dutch quantum ecosystem to build on its current lead.”

Original press release here