Project Q, Q3, Uncategorized

Q3 Provides Chance to Reflect on Project Q’s Progress


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While progress towards a meaningful quantum computer has yet to cascade into Moore’s law territory, this year’s Q Symposium—the third such event hosted by the University of Sydney’s Centre for International Security Studies and generously supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York—gave the impression that significant steps have been taken over the past two years.

By necessity, much of the writing and research of Q1 tended to treat the imminence of quantum technology speculatively. Post-Snowden secrecy combined with the oft-grandiose claims of its potential power made by those in its pursuit led many —myself included—to feel that quantum computing could be a paradigm shift for security on par with nuclear weapons. While this may ultimately prove the case, this year’s conference seemed very consciously engaged with the current reality of quantum technologies and theories, grounding its proceedings in a tone more grounded in the current quantum state of affairs.

This move could not come at a better time. With Project Q and similar efforts (i.e. Alexander Wendt’s publication of Quantum Mind and Social Science) beginning to present the ideas of a quantum social science to the broader community of security scholarship at ISA, the research and thinking around Q must strive to demonstrate the rigor and conceptual clarity necessary to allay competing criticisms of science envy and charlatanism.

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Watch the final roundtable event from Q3 Symposium on peace and security in a quantum age


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The final roundtable from the third annual Q Symposium held on February 11-13 this year is now available online. View the full recording below.

The roundtable wraps up the conference and features a discussion panel of Professors Azar Gat (Tel Aviv University), Karen O’Brien (University of Oslo), Christian Reus-Smit (University of Queensland), Assistant Professor Taylor Owen (University of British Columbia), Stephen Del Rosso (Carnegie Corporation) and Professor James Der Derian (University of Sydney).

Q Research, Q3

Is it time for a quantum leap in climate change?


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Professor Karen O’Brien from the University of Oslo joined the Q Symposium (Q3) this year on the Final Roundtable to discuss applications of quantum concepts in understanding social change.

Professor O’Brien recently wrote an opinion piece for WIREs Climate Change titled ‘Climate change and social transformations: is it time for a quantum leap?’ which explores the metaphysical, metaphorical and meaningful significance of quantum social theory for understandings of social change.

You can read the op-ed here.

Project Q, Q3

Q3 Symposium featured in latest SSPS Review magazine


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Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 3.03.22 PMThe latest issue of the SSPS Review, a digital magazine published by the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney recently featured a review of the third annual Q Symposium.

The SSPS Review celebrates the achievements of the school – staff, students and alumni, as well as donors who make a significant contribution to research and the student experience.

The piece is written by Project Q director James Der Derian and research assistant Maryanne Crooks, and provides an overview of the events that occurred at the third annual Q Symposium last February.

You can view and download the latest issue of the SSPS Review here, and you can read the piece from Page 30-33.

Q Research

Europe announces plan to launch billion dollar project in quantum technologies


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The European Commission has announced plans to launch a €1 billion project to kick-start Europe’s research in quantum technologies, a much needed move to ensure Europe’s leading role in a technological revolution that is now under way.

The initiative will launch in 2018 and aims to develop a range of different quantum technologies, from secure communication networks to ultra-precise gravity sensors and clocks.

Along with a press release of the announcement, the Commission also released a “Quantum Manifesto” to formulate a common strategy for Europe’s hand in the quantum revolution. The manifesto can be downloaded via the website. (more…)

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The quest for quantum on Future Tense


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Project Q’s Director, Professor James Der Derian was recently featured on ABC Radio’s program Future Tense (click to listen) to discuss the implications of quantum computing on peace and security.

The program which focused on topics surrounding the development of a quantum computer included interviews with Professor Michelle Simmons, Director of the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at the University of New South Wales; Dr. Simon Devitt, creator of meQuanics; and David Whiteing, CIO of Commonwealth Bank, who is working with Professor Simmons on a quantum computer for commercial use.

Photo: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr CC by 2.0

All, Q3

Watch the Quantum Moment and Matter panels from the Q3 Symposium


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View the full recordings of the Quantum Moment and Matter panels from the third annual Q Symposium, held in February this year.

The Quantum Moment panel was opened by Associate Professor Michael Biercuk (Quantum Control Lab, University of Sydney) on the new quantum revolution and the unique opportunities provided by current quantum research. His presentation was followed by Professor Shohini Ghose (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada) on quantum diversity and her interesting take on what it takes to be a quantum feminist. Finally, Assistant Professor Bentley B. Allan closed the panel with his presentation on the implications of quantum interpretations and technologies for the cosmological basis of political discourses.

The Quantum Matter panel began with Professor Andrew Dzurak (University of New South Wales) who presented his work in silicon-based quantum computing at the Centre for Quantum Computer Technology. Professor Chao-yang Lu (University of Science and Technology China) then discussed his research in perfecting single photons for multi-photon experiments, and was followed by Professor Stephen Bartlett (University of Sydney) who described new approaches to understanding quantum physics in the macroscopic world.

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The Q3 Symposium: Quantum Metaphysics panel


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In opening the panel on quantum metaphysics, Dr. Jairus Grove pointed to a central theme of the Q Symposium: how both the metaphorical and technological exploitation of quantum mechanics has unleashed metaphysical effects. Artist Alexa Meade, Professor Christopher Fuchs from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and writer John Phillip Santos from the University of Texas at San Antonio joined Dr. Grove on Sunday in a provocative discussion about the metaphysical quandaries of quantum.

Los Angeles based 3D artist Alexa Meade explained how her artworks involve painting a representation of reality onto itself, making 3D spaces appear 2D. Artist-in-residence at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada, Meade is no stranger to the conversation of how quantum affects reality, and incorporates this element into her own work. With the subjects of her art acting as both observers and participants, Meade demonstrated how her work triggers new ways of viewing the world, taking on a superpositional quality of 3D and 2D. (more…)

All, Q Research

Sydney University quantum lab receives multimillion dollar grant from US intelligence


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The Quantum Control Lab, led by Q3 Speaker, Associate Professor Michael Biercuk at the University of Sydney’s new Nanoscience Hub has been awarded a multimillion dollar grant for research in quantum computing by the US office of the Director of National Intelligence, reported by the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday.

The Nanoscience Hub is the only facility in Australia chosen for the US funding and the grant forms part of a program run by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).

According to the report, IARPA’s program aims to deliver a “logical quantum bit based on trapped ions”, whereby quantum bits (qubits) are the building blocks for quantum computing, promising to revolutionise the way computers work.

Associate Professor Biercuk commented on the intelligence funding from IARPA as “not about building weapons but for supporting applied science research.” He also described the diversity of funding programs in the US, many from the military or intelligence organisations unlike Australia. (more…)

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Malcolm Turnbull pledges support for quantum innovation


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Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull today attended the launch of a new quantum computing complex at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Turnbull, following in the footsteps of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau last week at the Perimeter Institute, spoke to the press at UNSW on the importance quantum computing has in building Australia’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The new complex is an extension of the currently running Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology lead by Professor Michelle Simmons, and includes new facilities for research in developing quantum computational devices.

Two days ago, the University of Sydney officially launched the Sydney Nanoscience Hub with a two-day symposium of speakers from all around the world presenting their research in quantum computation and nanoscience technologies. Their launch included a visit from Norman Whitaker, Head of Research at Microsoft, who likened this research to “moonshot” ideas, much like the moon landing and other breakthroughs in science and technology.

While it may seem that both universities are butting heads against one another in a quantum computing race, the launch of both labs this week is exciting news for innovation in Australia and more importantly proves how much of a world leader Australia is in the development of quantum technologies.

Photo: AAP Image