​Turnbull touts UNSW’s quantum capability as “world’s best”

UNSW opens new quantum computing laboratory

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull at the UNSW launch

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull at the UNSW launch

Prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has hailed the University of New South Wales’ quantum computing research as the “best in the world.”

Turnbull and minister for industry, innovation and science, Christopher Pyne, on Friday opened a new quantum computing laboratory complex at UNSW in Sydney.

“There is no bolder idea than quantum computing,” Turnbull said, praising the work of scientia professor, Michelle Simmons, director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T).

The new laboratories will double the productivity capacity of the UNSW headquarters of the CQC2T. They will also be used to advance development work to commercialise the university’s quantum research.

Each lab will house new scanning tunnelling microscopes, which are used to manipulate individual atoms, as well as six cryogenic dilution refrigerators that can reach temperatures close to absolute zero.

Professor Simmons said the Australian centre’s approach to creating a powerful quantum computer using silicon has given the university a two to three-year lead over the rest of the world.

“These facilities will enable us to stay ahead of the competition,” Professor Simmons said.

Late last year, as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, the government committed $26 million towards a projected $100 million investment to support the commercial development of the university’s research.

The Commonwealth Bank and Telstra also pledged $10 million towards the development of a ten-qubit prototype.

Professor Simmons expects a ten-qubit prototype integrated circuit to be built within five years.

“By mapping the evolution of classic computing devices over the last century, we would expect commercial quantum computing devices to appear within 5-10 years of that milestone,” Professor Simmons said.


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