Ensuring Sydney’s place as a global hub for quantum
Sydney Quantum Academy is working to create thousands of well-paid, high-tech jobs building on the city’s quantum strengths.
At an online forum officially launching the Academy on Monday 7 December 2020, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP joined representatives from academia and industry to discuss plans to grow the city’s quantum economy, creating new jobs and attracting investment.
Sydney is already home to one of the highest concentrations of quantum research groups in the world and there is a burgeoning quantum tech industry with start-ups like Q-CTRL, government-backed enterprises like Silicon Quantum Computing and global tech giants like Microsoft.
The newly formed Sydney Quantum Academy – a partnership with four world-leading universities Macquarie University, UNSW Sydney, the University of Sydney and UTS, backed by the NSW Government – has been tasked with supercharging the sector’s growth.
Minister Ayres said: “The NSW Government is investing heavily in the infrastructure required to build a world-class technology precinct. This includes investing in support networks for emerging technologies where we have credible expertise.”
“The Academy will keep us at the forefront of quantum technology by developing the future employers, entrepreneurs and the workforce required to sustain the industry’s growth.”
Producing future quantum leaders
Sydney Quantum Academy’s newly appointed CEO Prof Peter Turner spoke of the Academy’s plans to grow the talent pipeline through education and training programs, industry partnerships and internships.
Prof Turner said: “The potential for quantum is enormous, which is why we are seeing significant increases in effort and investment around the world. Quantum technologies will fundamentally change areas like computation and sensing. They will help us to solve problems that we simply can’t solve with classical information technology.”
He added: “The Academy’s unique model means we have the ability and the infrastructure to deliver work-ready graduates and leaders who can help translate quantum research into real-life applications. There are jobs already there with the technology maturing rapidly, but there are many more to come. We need to boost the talent pipeline and anticipate what skills will be required for the future. We can only do this by working closely with industry in Australia and beyond.”
Fuelling the nation’s quantum economy
Cathy Foley, CSIRO’s chief scientist and Australia’s incoming chief scientist spoke on how Sydney will play a central role in developing the nation’s quantum technology sector.
Dr Cathy Foley, Chief Scientist at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, said: “The investment by the NSW Government in the Sydney Quantum Academy is a great example of the steps that are needed to create and accelerate a quantum ecosystem that will allow the whole of Australia to come together behind an industry that will create jobs and prosperity.”
“Quantum is an industry that is going to do more than create new products and services – it will also catalyse a broader capability that will be transformational for all industries, similar to the effect of the digital revolution. It is going to allow us to do new things and accelerate our ability to solve challenges that seem unsolvable today.”
Dr Foley is a member of the Sydney Quantum Academy’s External Advisory Board which has been established to help SQA bridge the gap between industry, academia and government. The board features 10 senior representatives from government, international and local start-ups, venture capital, and technology firms.
“We're very fortunate to have these global tech industry and government leaders involved. It demonstrates the significance of what’s happening in the quantum space in Sydney,” said Professor Peter Turner.
See below for the launch recording (duration 1 hour)
ABOUT SQA's PARTNERS
Our partners are deeply involved in developing quantum technology through the ARC Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) and the ARC Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology (CQC²T) harnessing academic talent from all four institutions. See below for more detail on each institution’s quantum expertise and offering.
Macquarie University hosts the Centre for Quantum Engineering (MQCQE) with a core of 8 faculty who are designing second generation quantum machines. This includes hardware for quantum simulators, quantum sensors, and quantum computers, and quantum algorithms for these devices. The Quantum Materials and Applications (QMAPP) group runs three laboratories on campus and at CSIRO, focused on optomechanics and levitation, cavity electrodynamics, and solid state quantum control. The centre maintains partnerships with Google and Lockheed Martin and is a node in EQUS.
University of Sydney
The University of Sydney’s $150 million Nanoscience Hub houses the Quantum Control Laboratory, Quantum Integration Laboratory and Quantum Theory Group. The Quantum Control Laboratory explores new ways to control quantum systems for use in quantum computing, simulation and sensing. The Quantum Integration Laboratory probes the quantum interactions between light, electronics, and atoms embedded in crystals. Whereas the Quantum Theory Group explores a wide range of fundamental and applied questions ranging from the foundations of quantum mechanics to how to build practical quantum technology. The University of Sydney also hosts the global research node of the Microsoft Station Q network which is focused on engineering interfaces between classical and quantum systems for more powerful quantum machines.
UNSW Sydney undertakes world-leading research in quantum technologies in both its School of Physics and School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, and recently announced the world’s first accredited Bachelors degree in Quantum Engineering. It hosts the headquarters of CQC2T and its related commercialisation company Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC). Researchers at UNSW and SQC are leading the world in the race to build quantum computers based on both single atoms and CMOS devices in silicon. The University also hosts the headquarters of the NSW node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility which provides advanced nanofabrication capabilities needed for quantum device development.
UTS is committed to the growth of the quantum technology ecosystem both through new education pathways such as the major in Quantum Information Science that equips Computer Science students with the skills to discover new quantum applications and technology, and strategic research initiatives such as the UTS Centre for Quantum Software and Information (QSI). QSI is Australia’s leading research centre focussed on the software and information processing infrastructure for quantum technologies. QSI researchers work with industrial and academic partners across the entire quantum software stack: from developing new methods to design and program quantum algorithms and applications; to perfecting the quantum control and error correction routines used by experimental teams such as those using UTS’ new Millikelvin Quantum Science Laboratory. UTS also conducts quantum technology research through its nodes of the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems.
ABOUT THE EVENT PANELLISTS
Prof. Michael J. Biercuk is the Founder and CEO of Q-CTRL, Australia's first venture-capital backed quantum technology startup. He is a Professor of Quantum Physics and Quantum Technology at the University of Sydney and a Chief Investigator in EQUS. Previously he served as a technical consultant to DARPA in the United States Department of Defense and worked with 2012 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Dr David Wineland at NIST. Michael holds a PhD from Harvard University and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Prof. Gavin Brennen is director of the Macquarie Centre for Quantum Engineering and is a Chief Investigator for EQUS. He completed his PhD at the University of New Mexico with a thesis proposing one of the first quantum computer architectures. Before moving to Australia, he worked as a research fellow at NIST Gaithersburg, and Senior Scientist at IQOQI, Innsbruck. His research focus is on the theory of quantum computers, simulators, and quantum sensors as well as the impact of quantum technologies on fintech.
Dr. Cathy Foley is Chief Scientist of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and innovation catalyst. Dr Foley has made significant contributions to the understanding of superconducting materials, and developed the LANDTEM sensor system to locate valuable deposits of minerals deep underground. This has led to mineral discoveries worth more than $6 billion. In 2020, Dr Foley led the development of a Quantum Technology Roadmap for Australia, which brought the sector together in a collaborative approach to growing our domestic quantum economy. Her leadership has been recognised with numerous awards and fellowships, including an Order of Australia.
Prof David Reilly holds a joint position with the University of Sydney and Microsoft Corporation, where he is the Partner and Director of Microsoft Quantum, Sydney. The focus of much of Reilly’s work is at the quantum-classical interface and the scale-up of quantum technology. As a leader in Microsoft’s quantum effort he bridges the gap between fundamental quantum physics and the engineering approaches needed to scale quantum devices into quantum machines. He is also interested in applying quantum tech in biomedicine, pioneering new approaches to magnetic resonance imaging using nanodiamonds.