NSW government stumps up AU$15m for Sydney Quantum Academy

The funding will be shared across four NSW universities that will work together to boost quantum computing engagement in the state.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The New South Wales government has announced funding a new initiative aimed at getting university students engaged with quantum computing.

The AU$15.4 million Sydney Quantum Academy (SQA) initiative will see the University of Sydney (USyd), University of New South Wales (UNSW), Macquarie University, and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) encourage students to work with each other and train across the four universities.

It is expected the funding will also be used to link students to industry through internships and research; support the development of quantum technology startup businesses; and promote Sydney as a quantum computing hub.

The NSW government funding, combined with current university and future industry support, sees the total investment in the SQA pinned at around AU$35 million.

"Our new investment will secure a pipeline of highly skilled quantum engineers, software experts and technicians to build and program these incredible machines as the technology becomes reality," Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.

"We want the SQA to secure investments from key players in the global technology industry and attract the best scientists from around the world to NSW."


Barilaro believes that for every quantum computing role created, around five indirect jobs will be generated.

"This is an exciting collaboration between some of our top universities in NSW, which already have unique strengths when it comes to quantum science and engineering," NSW Minister for Innovation Matt Kean added.

"Most of our international competitors excel in just one form of quantum science. But here in Sydney, our universities have strengths across a number of fields such as silicon quantum computing, topological quantum computing, trapped ions, quantum software, and nanodiamonds."

Physicists use code to reduce quantum error in logic gates

Also this week, scientists from USyd announced using specially designed code to detect and discard errors in the logic gates of quantum computers.

Quantum logic gates are formed by entangled networks of a small number of quantum bits (qubits). They are the switches that allow quantum computers to run algorithms that process information and perform calculations.

"This is really the first time that the promised benefit for quantum logic gates from theory has been realised in an actual quantum machine," Dr Robin Harper from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems said.

Harper, alongside Professor Steven Flammia from the School of Physics and University of Sydney Nano Institute, used IBM's quantum computer to test error detection codes.

The university said they demonstrated an order of magnitude improvement in reducing infidelity -- error rates -- in quantum logic gates.

Using code to detect and discard errors on IBM's quantum device, Harper and Flammia showed error rates dropping from 5.8 percent to 0.60 percent. So rather than one in 20 quantum gates failing, just one in 200 would fail.

"This is an important step forward to develop fault tolerance in quantum systems to allow them to scale up to meaningful devices," Harper added.

"These experiments are the first confirmation that the theoretical ability to detect errors in the operation of logical gates using quantum codes is advantageous in present-day devices, a significant step towards the goal of building large-scale quantum computers."


Australia's ambitious plan to win the quantum race

Professor Michelle Simmons thinks Australia has what it takes to be the first to the finish line in the international quantum computing race.

What a quantum computer is, and why it needs to be more

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What will you actually use quantum computing for?

There's always a blue sky technology waiting in the wings, and for enterprise computing, quantum computing takes that role. With Satya Nadella convening a panel of Microsoft's best physicists at the end of his Ignite conference keynote, it's fair time to ask, what will this mean to the enterprise and how long will the adoption curve take?

How AI and machine learning will help the rise of quantum computing (TechRepublic)

When quantum computers come online, all encryption will fail. James Barratt explains how AI will aid the way for the emergence of quantum computing.

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