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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

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The University of Sydney launches world-leading nanoscience institute


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This week, the University of Sydney launches the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST), which aims to bring together the best researchers and research facilities to discover and harness new science at the nanoscale, including quantum science, to address some of society’s biggest challenges.

The Sydney Nanoscience Hub will be the new headquarters for AINST, and is among the most advanced facilities for measurement and experimental device fabrication in the world.

The Hub will be home to several different projects including the Quantum Control Lab lead by Associate Professor Michael Biercuk who was a Q3 Symposium participant on the Quantum Moment panel last February. Michael has also been involved in the public media discussing his team’s work in quantum innovation recently on ABC’s Q&A program. Professor David Reilly who leads the Quantum Nanoscience Lab research project at the Hub was also a participant at the first Q1 Symposium in 2014.

This week, AINST will be holding several different events as it officially launches, which included a free public talk by Professor Joanna Aizenberg from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard titled ‘Slippery Surfaces: how nanoscience is changing our material world‘.

A two-day Scientific Meeting will follow from Wednesday to find out the latest developments in nanoscale science and technology from eminent scientists from around the world, including research leaders from the institute. Professor Charles M. Marcus from the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark will be presenting a seminar ‘From the Atom to the Computer and Back Again – A 100 Year Round Trip‘ on the development of semiconductor-based computing technology and quantum mechanics. Registrations for the meeting are still open and can be done via AINST’s website.

Photo: Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology

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Canadian Prime Minister ducks question about ISIL, but nails quantum


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Justin Trudeau visited the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo last week to attend a press briefing announcing $50 million in funding to continue its research in fundamental physics, including quantum computing. After a journalist in the audience jokingly asked the Canadian PM to explain quantum computing before launching into a question about Canada’s ISIL mission, Trudeau unabashedly avoids the latter by responding to his first question about quantum computing with total ease (see video below).

Professor Jairus Grove of the University of Hawaii, who presented the Q Lecture earlier this year on terrorism in an ‘age of quantum insecurity’ actually answers both of these questions. Watch the full lecture here.

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The Q3 Symposium: Quantum Mind panel


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Following on from the Quantum Moment and Quantum Matter panels on the previous day, Q participants gathered to contemplate the implications of quantum for the mind and consciousness, after a video lecture and Q&A with Professor Alexander Wendt on his book ‘Quantum Mind and Social Science’

The diverse panel was comprised of materials scientist Dr Anirban Bandyopadhyay from the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan, neurologist Dr Andrew Duggins of the University of Sydney Medical School, and molecular geneticist Professor Johnjoe McFadden of the University of Surrey. The panel was moderated by international relations theorist Professor Colin Wight of the University of Sydney.

The discussion centred primarily on the nature of information processing in the brain and branched out from there to consider issues such as how consciousness might arise, the portability of quantum-level processes to the classical scale, and finally the broader implications of quantum mindedness for how we should commence the discussion on security in a quantum age.

(more…)

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New research in photon technology may hold the key to unhackable communication


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A research team from the University of Sydney’s School of Physics have recently made a breakthrough in how to generate single photons or light particles as carriers of quantum information in security systems.

Professor Benjamin Eggleton, Director of the Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), leads the research team in a collaborative effort between the School of Physics and the School of Electrical and Information Engineering in utilising quantum communication and computing to revolutionise the ability to exchange data securely.

“The ability to generate single photons, which form the backbone of technology used in laptops and the internet, will drive the development of local secure communications systems – for safeguarding defence and intelligence networks, the financial security of corporations and governments and bolstering personal electronic privacy, like shopping online,” Eggleton says.

The team are currently exploring real-world applications of this new technology.

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Alexander Wendt’s animated lecture on ‘Quantum Mind and Social Sciences’ goes live


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Last June, the Project Q team travelled to Ann Arbor Michigan to talk with Professor Alexander Wendt from Ohio State University about his bold new book ‘Quantum Mind and Social Science’. The team produced a short video interview as well a short exegesis of the book by Wendt. The final presentation, an animated video lecture by Wendt, encourages us to venture out of our disciplinary silos to consider the importance of quantum physics for the social sciences.

Watch the video below for the final version of Alexander Wendt’s animated video lecture on ‘Quantum Mind and Social Science’:

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Sydney University to open the Nanoscience Hub for the quantum technologies of the future


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The University of Sydney is set to open its one of a kind Nanoscience Hub on April 20, following a public lecture on April 19. The news of the launch has been published on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Associate Professor Michael Biercuk, Professor Benjamin Eggleton and Professor David Reilly will run the three flagship projects at the new Hub on quantum simulations, building quantum devices, and the development of nanoscale photonic circuits, respectively.

Both Associate Professor Biercuk and Professor Reilly have presented papers on their work in quantum technology at the Q Symposium, and Project Q is pleased to be part of a quantum revolution that both are aspiring to build.

You can read about the Quantum Moment panel, where Associate Professor Biercuk presented a paper on The new quantum revolution, and listen to Professor Reilly’s interview with Project Q on the disruptive technologies of quantum mechanics.

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The Q3 Symposium: Quantum Matter panel


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In February 2016, Q participants gathered to hear about the principles and implications of quantum technology from the ‘Quantum Matter’ panel, comprised of three distinguished quantum physicists.

Local panellists included Professor Stephen Bartlett, who leads a research program in theoretical quantum physics at the University of Sydney, and Professor Andrew Dzurak, director of the research program into silicon-based quantum computing at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The panel was completed by an international guest, Professor Chao-yang Lu, a leading researcher in quantum physics at the University of Science and Technology China (USTC), and moderated by Project Q’s own Dr. Frank Smith, from the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

Throughout the discussion, panellists considered several common themes: the nature of quantum knowledge, its implications and relevant stakeholders framed the discussion on Quantum Matter. (more…)