University College Dublin (UCD) recently announced the launch of C-QuEST
, a new research centre for Quantum Engineering, Science, and Technology. The launch highlights the ever-increasing importance of emerging technologies to harness the power of quantum science, and points to a shift in the Irish research and innovation landscape.
Link to video of C-QuEST launch event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOfJ6oma4MA
The nanoscale world of atoms and electrons is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. The behavior of this quantum realm is often weird, confounding our everyday experience of the ‘classical’ world around us.
Quantum theory now underpins our understanding of the natural world; yet it is not merely abstract theory. Experimental advances, driven both by basic science performed in universities and industrial research and development allow us to probe the quantum world. In fact, miniaturization of electronics and new nanofabrication techniques now mean that we can begin to control quantum resources.
The new quantum revolution will therefore exploit the unique advantages of quantum physics for advanced technologies. The most famous and eagerly awaited application is that of quantum computation, which is set to overturn 60+ years of dominance from the digital microprocessor industry. Diverse applications from drug discovery and genomics to finance and cyber-security have spurred on the global race to develop and scale-up such technologies.
While the pioneers of quantum theory were physicists, developing and commercialising new quantum technologies requires a much more collaborative and interdisciplinary approach and C-QuEST, with over 20 academic staff from the UCD College of Engineering and UCD Schools of Physics, Computer Science, and Mathematics and Statistics, is uniquely placed to meet this need.
Dr Andrew Mitchell, UCD School of Physics and C-QuEST Director said, “
Ireland has the potential to be a leader in quantum research. In the last few years UCD has built up a critical mass of researchers working on different aspects of quantum science and technology. C-QuEST aims to combine this diverse expertise and develop industrial collaborations.”
He added, “We also have close connections and joint research projects with industry, from Silicon Valley start-ups to the global tech giants. Aside from research, we are hearing more and more from quantum tech employers that they need a ‘quantum-literate’ workforce, and of course UCD is in a unique position with C-QuEST to provide a multi-disciplinary quantum education.”
Through Equal1 Labs, a UCD spin-out company, which recently became the first company to demonstrate a fully integrated quantum processor unit (QPU) operating at 3.7 kelvin, a milestone with implications for the trajectory of quantum computing, the university is already at the forefront of Ireland’s quantum revolution.
Equal1 was founded by Dirk Leipold, Mike Asker and Professor R. Bogdan Staszewski and is a spin-out from the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The Equal1 team has offices at NovaUCD and in California.
Activity in quantum research has ramped up globally over the last decade, with a staggering €1 billion in research funding invested through the new EU Quantum Flagship, and National Quantum Institutes being set up in the UK, USA and in many EU member states. The big tech companies are also in an R&D race, with IBM, Intel, Google, and Microsoft all investing millions in the sector.
Dr Mitchell concluded, “By launching C-QuEST at this time, UCD is positioning itself firmly at the core of the emerging quantum arena in Ireland, poised to play its role in the coming quantum tech revolution.”