High-tech foundry to forge quantum computers bit by bit

Australian quantum pioneers are determined they won’t be left behind in the race to attract talent and solve complex problems with new tools.

The University of Sydney announced on Tuesday it will establish a Future Qubit Foundry in the Sydney Nanoscience Hub, where researchers will have access to world-class labs and pristine cleanrooms.

Future computers could harness the power of a million qubits, or quantum bits, and rapidly answer complex questions. But qubits themselves will change.

The foundry will focus on the fundamental science for the next generation of qubits and the industry partnerships needed to make them useful ‚Äď in pharmaceuticals, cryptography and engineering.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Emma Johnston said the $7.4 million investment would position the university at the forefront of next-generation design of qubits, the heart of quantum computers.

‚ÄúCrucially, it will also help ensure Australia can train the quantum workforce needed to operate tomorrow‚Äôs quantum tech,‚ÄĚ she said.

CSIRO predicts quantum technology will be a $6 billion industry in Australia by 2045, employing 19,400 people.

Professor Stephen Bartlett, who heads the quantum theory group in the School of Physics, said the building blocks of tomorrow’s quantum computers were yet to be invented.

‚ÄúThat‚Äôs why it‚Äôs so vital to invest now into facilities like this to accelerate qubit research,‚ÄĚ he said.

Australians such as John Bartholomew, who was at Caltech, and Xanthe Croot, who was at Princeton, have come home to establish research teams at Sydney to develop future quantum tech, he said.

The USyd announcement comes as a three-day Quantum Australia conference begins in Sydney, including keynote speakers federal Industry Minister Ed Husic and Australia’s Chief Scientist Cathy Foley.

 

Marion Rae
(Australian Associated Press)

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