The Future of Harnessing Quantum Technology in Australia

It is now commonly acknowledged that quantum technology and research are valuable. Researchers have been able to theorize and implement previously unthinkable technologies because to the growing body of quantum findings and their incorporation into our basic knowledge of the world.

Governments and institutions from all around the world are putting time and effort towards comprehending and using the quantum space. One such nation committed to this cause is Australia, with Sydney serving as a key centre. The University of New South Wales contributes to Sydney’s initiative to advance quantum technology in Australia by investing major resources and top-tier researchers in the development of cutting-edge technologies and partnerships with global authorities.

The University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) Professor Dane McCamey spoke with The Innovation Platform about the potential for quantum technology in Australia as well as UNSW’s efforts to become a major leader in the field of quantum research and development.

What Potential Does Australia Have for The Future in Terms of Quantum Technologies?

For more than 25 years, Australia has been actively engaged in developing quantum technology. For a nation of our size, we have extremely robust quantum research environments, with sizeable knowledge clusters in most major locations.

Sydney serves as a centre for quantum research and application worldwide. It is supported by a highly integrated ecosystem and has both depth and size. As an illustration, the Sydney Quantum Academy (SQA) was established through a collaboration between the NSW State Government and four institutions (UNSW, the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)).

SQA is intended to support the expansion of the quantum economy in the Sydney Basin. It organizes training, creates a network of students who will make up the nucleus of the workforce for quantum technology, and connects industrial and academic partners through a range of initiatives and events. It has a good effect on the quantum technology scenes in Australia, New South Wales, and Sydney and aids students in locating tech employment.

Our research has been incorporated into industry over the past five years through startups and well-established businesses that are concentrating increasingly on quantum technology. It’s crucial that basic research in that field be well-capable of supporting the commercial translation of quantum technology. According to the CSIRO, Quantum Technologies will significantly boost Australia’s export economy and support over 20,000 employment in Australia over the next 20 years.

Australia Published Its National Quantum Strategy in May of This Year. What Does This Signify, And What Does It Portend for Australia’s Quantum Future?

Australia is in a strong position for quantum technologies. The government has recognized the potential for the quantum technology sector to be a source of economic growth and has backed efforts to expand the business. They acknowledge Australia’s pioneering role in the creation of the core concepts that underlie quantum technologies and acknowledge that now is an excellent moment to capitalize on this resource to turn technology into goods.

A large federal program called the National Reconstruction Fund contains a $1 billion plan to support the funding of vital technologies like quantum. This investment is intended to be guided by the National Quantum Strategy. The strategy will help direct this investment in research and development (R&D), as well as commercialization, infrastructure, growing a workforce, and comprehending the advantages that quantum technology will bring to Australia, as noted by Ed Husic (Australia’s Minister for Industry and Science) at its launch.

It also seeks to ensure that this quantum technology is dependable, moral, and inclusive—aspects about which people are concerned in adjacent fields like Artificial Intelligence (AI). Australia’s Chief Scientist, Cathy Foley, is in charge of consultations around the program’s execution; this is fantastic, and we can’t wait to watch how it develops.

The Australian Centre for Quantum Growth, worth $20 million, is one part of the strategy. Its goals include assisting Australian enterprises in their R&D efforts and assisting in the identification of potential markets for developing quantum technologies as well as the potential sources of demand for these technologies.

Quantum technologies have shown a lot of promise, but this thorough examination of whether they will actually have an influence on the economy or be economically viable in industry is crucial and represents a truly important contribution by the Australian Government.

The Critical Technologies Challenge initiative will be administered with an additional $40 million from the Federal Government. The initiative seeks to assist projects where there is a genuine demand for a quantum solution in business and aims to improve relationships between Australian quantum researchers and industry.

Could You Elaborate on UNSW’s Position in The World Of Quantum Technology?

A top university with its headquarters in Sydney, Australia is UNSW. As we get closer to celebrating our 75th anniversary next year, it’s an exciting moment for us. Since the middle of the 1990s, UNSW has been engaged in quantum technology research and has developed into a highly powerful, internationally renowned center. We have a very strong group of freshly appointed professors, such as Jarryd Pla and Maja Cassidy, as well as well-known leaders like Michelle Simmons, Andrew Dzurak, Sven Rogge, and Andrea Morello. It’s an active setting for doing quantum research.

In an effort to prepare a workforce that can approach quantum technologies from both an engineering and a physical sciences standpoint, we created the first Bachelor’s degree in quantum engineering in the history of the discipline. Our educational initiatives in the fields of science and engineering are supported by considerable investments in new training facilities and labs that bring together the core expertise needed to support regional industrial growth.

Could You List A Few Of the Most Significant Outcomes Of UNSW’s Quantum Research?

UNSW has aided two enormous spinouts. One is Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC), a spinoff from Michelle Simmons’ research team. The primary goal of SQC is to create silicon quantum computers utilizing a cutting-edge method of manufacture based on STM lithography.

SQC exploits this extraordinary capacity to create quantum devices by manipulating matter at the atomic level. After an initial investment by UNSW, the State and Federal Governments, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Telstra, Simmons just concluded a $50 million capital round, the second significant investment into that business.

Diraq, a quantum spinout from work conducted by Andrew Dzurak, is the more recent and noteworthy one. In order to create quantum computing devices, Diraq employs a different method than that utilized to create CMOS, the technology employed in the majority of microelectronic devices.

As a part of our larger Entrepreneurial Campus initiative, which enables businesses to co-locate on our campus and leverage the rich intellectual and infrastructure resources available in a world-class university, both of those businesses are situated on the UNSW campus.

The larger Sydney ecosystem is also tremendously helpful to businesses developing quantum technologies. Despite not being affiliated with UNSW, several substantial businesses exist, like as Michael Biercuk’s Q-CTRL, which is developing the technology required to manage and lower mistakes in quantum computing and sensing systems. Both have a significant global presence, with Quantum Brilliance’s headquarters in Sydney and its concentration on diamond-based quantum technology. There are currently listed firms participating in quantum and other smaller-scale spinouts. This concentration of activity is crucial because it encourages the influx of capital and skill.

How Is Australia Collaborating With Other Nations To Hasten The Development Of Quantum Technology?

The Australian, United Kingdom, and United States (AUKUS) defense accord, which was established in 2021, is one area that is now guiding our efforts. There are two: Pillar One, which focuses on nuclear submarines and related technologies, and Pillar Two, which is concerned with crucial defense technologies, such as quantum. We are interacting with governments all around the world to help them comprehend the potential applications of quantum technology in defense. Quantum computing is one example, but there are other more immediate uses for quantum sensors, quantum communication systems, and quantum cryptography, to name a few.

We have introduced Security and Defence PLuS as a component of the PLuS Alliance, a partnership between UNSW Sydney, Arizona State University, and King’s College London. Finding methods for universities to collaborate with the defense and defense industry in research and education to help governments achieve the goals of that second pillar is one of the main objectives of Security and Defence PLuS.

Consideration of the effect will be vital in addition to our capacity to create technology and put it into goods. We are interested in issues such as the ethics of quantum technology and its regulation. As governments aim to take advantage of developing quantum technologies, UNSW places a major emphasis on the relationship between technology and the law and on understanding the crucial role that ethics, politics, and regulation play in technological development.

The recently created Semiconductor Sector Services Bureau (S3B), a collaboration between UNSW, the University of Sydney, and Macquarie University, is another illustration of our global connections. S3B is assisting in bridging the gap between what a Sydney-based small company is able to do and what is necessary to get devices manufactured in a worldwide foundry. S3B collaborates directly with these foundries and other international organizations of a same nature.

Another initiative that the three participating institutions and the state government financed shows the power of the strong cooperation concept.

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