About Q1


‘The Q Symposium: Peace and Security in a Quantum Age’ is the Centre for International Security Studies’ inaugural global conference and is the first of its kind to be held in Sydney. Q analyses global events by applying new thinking in the natural, social and human sciences to a reconfiguration of global power, emergent peace and security issues and the role of networked global media and information technology in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Peace and security scholars and experts — as well as scientists and humanists, diplomats and soldiers, journalists and filmmakers, risk analysts and risk takers – will gather to explore volatile and complex global events with low probability but of high consequence, the ‘white swans’ of the Southern Hemisphere.

Q investigates non-traditional peace and security issues, ranging from financial crises and pandemics to terrorist attacks and cyberconflicts to natural and unnatural disasters. Q will have a particular focus on networked phenomena and media interventions that produce unexpected, unpredictable and often immeasurable global effects. Q is retrospective, seeking insights from a YouTube video of an oil spill, Instagram of a human rights violation, Twitter microblog of a terrorist bombing or Wikileak of a classified documents. Q will also be prospective, seeking to anticipate the impact of new information technologies and networked global media on peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

The focal point and conceptual nucleus of Q is the global event. Virtualised by digital technologies, accelerated by multiple media, polarised by political interests, force-multiplied by armed interventions, global events jump from unknown to known, insignificant to significant, local to global, there to here, virtual to real and back again. Each effort to observe and take measure of the global event, including media intervention, surveillance operations, data collection as well as our own theorizations, produces its own quantum effects. Q will zoom in and out on quantum effects that go global.

The event horizon of this Q is quantum computing and communication going online. Australia, with universities in Sydney leading the way, has become ground zero for open research in this exciting new field. Quantum is no longer confined to the experimental, microphysical or metaphorical: it will be actual in our lifetime. As the forerunners of quantum innovation – that has been likened by some experts as potentially equivalent to the advent of fire – the University bears a special responsibility to take up the quantum challenge. Q is the first conference of its kind to consider the strategic and diplomatic, financial and developmental, political and ethical implications of quantum global events.

The 4 Q’s of the Symposium:

  • Quarantine the best critical thinkers and innovative practitioners
  • Question the assumptions of traditional peace and security studies
  • Engage in Quality transdisciplinary research
  • Identify and address Quantum global events.