Sydney just entered the race to build the world's first quantum computer

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  • The NSW Government has issued a grant of $500,000 to set up Sydney Quantum Academy.
  • Four Sydney universities are participating in the initiative, lead by the University of Sydney.
  • Quantum computing is pegged to become a $US29 billion industry by 2021.
  • Sydney is gearing up to be a global centre for research into quantum computing.

    The NSW Government has made a grant of $500,000 to help set up a Sydney Quantum Academy for postgraduate training and research.

    Quantum computers, using subatomic particles, promises to be super powerful and able to handle very complex tasks such as mapping genes and making personalised medical treatment possible.

    The latest initiative is led by the University of Sydney in partnership with Macquarie University, the University of NSW and University of Technology, Sydney.

    Professor Stephen Bartlett from the University of Sydney Quantum Science Research Group says Sydney has one of the most impressive concentrations of quantum researchers in the world.

    “Bringing that expertise together to train people from Australia and internationally will be a fantastic complement to the great work we are already doing,” he says.

    The current Quantum Nanoscience course at the University of Sydney was developed to match the capabilities of the new Sydney Nanoscience Hub, the $150 million flagship building of the University of Sydney Nano Institute.

    Professor Michelle Simmons, the 2018 Australian of the Year, whose team at University of NSW Sydney is developing a silicon based quantum computer, said: “We have some exciting opportunities for translation in the quantum space, we need good people.”

    The UNSW team has a $83 million deal with Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank and the federal and New South Wales governments to develop, by 2022, a 10-qubit prototype silicon quantum integrated circuit, the first step in building the world’s first quantum computer in silicon.

    Investment bank Goldman Sachs says quantum computing could be a $US29 billion industry by 2021. Global tech companies, including Google and IBM, are investing heavily in quantum computing.

    Quantum computing research in Australia is also attracting venture capital.

    Q-Ctrl Pty Ltd, the first spin-off company from the University of Sydney’s Quantum Science Group, has been established with the support of Australian and international venture capital.

    Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the $500,000 investment in the quantum economy is about jobs.

    “We have a tremendous wealth of expertise in quantum science and technology in NSW. There are researchers here who the world is watching closely, as the race to develop the first fully-functional quantum computer heats up,” she says.

    “The Quantum Academy will train a future generation of quantum engineers to build and program these machines. The Academy will also build on the expertise across our universities to create a quantum ecosystem that will benefit NSW.”

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