The NSW Government has teamed up with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in a bid to create the world’s first quantum computer.
The government’s $8.7 million investment comes as one of the first expenditures from its recently announced $26 million Quantum Computing Fund.
The funding will support a new company, Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd, responsible for retaining intellectual property in Australia, supporting new industries based around quantum computing, and most importantly, creating the world’s first quantum computer.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills, John Barilaro, spoke about the new partnership.
“NSW has an incredible and an unusual depth of talent in quantum research, and the world is watching our progress.
“This new company, led by UNSW, will help to ensure we remain global leaders in the race to develop a silicon-based quantum computer.
“Professor Michelle Simmons and her incredibly talented team of researchers at UNSW have put Australia ahead of the pack in the race to build the world’s first fully-functional quantum computer in silicon,” he said.
The company will operate within the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T), residing in the UNSW School of Physics.
CQC2T labs were opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in April 2016, where it was announced they would accelerate Australia in the “international race to build the world’s first quantum computer in silicon”.
Also backed by Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and the Federal government, CQC2T believes it is on track to create an operational quantum system within 10 to 15 years.
The new company is expected to create an extra 40 jobs, including 25 post-doctoral researchers and 12 PhD students.
Quantum computing can perform complex equations that would otherwise take years to complete in just minutes, using quantum bits (qubits).
While IBM has already created a 16 and 17-qubit computer, CQC2T is hoping to process a world-first 30-qubit system, capable of outperforming a classical computer.
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science the Hon Arthur Sinodinos spoke of the importance of quantum computing for Australia.
“Quantum computers are expected to transform the way we live, work, and do business over the coming decades, creating new jobs in new industries not even imaginable today,” he said.
“If Australia wins the global race to build a functional quantum computer, it will create new industries and job opportunities across our economy.”