Skip to main content
News_

US Government investment in quantum

3 May 2016
The United States funds about half of the University's quantum research

An international consortium comprising European groups and Associate Professor Michael Biercuk's Quantum Control Laboratory at the University of Sydney has been awarded a multimillion-dollar grant from the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence for research in quantum technology.

A logical qubit is considered a holy grail in quantum information.
Associate Professor Michael Biercuk

Talking quantum tech

Associate Professor Michael Biercuk interviewed on the Mark Bouris Show inside the new $150m Sydney Nanoscience Hub.

An international consortium comprising European groups and the University of Sydney has been awarded a multimillion-dollar research grant from the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence for research in quantum technology.

Associate Professor Michael Biercuk’s Quantum Control Laboratory at the University of Sydney is the only team based in Australia that has been selected for funding, but builds on a long history of collaboration between US intelligence agencies and the Quantum Science Group at the University of Sydney.

The new consortium including the Quantum Control Laboratory – led out of cutting-edge laboratories at the new $150m Sydney Nanoscience Hub launched recently –  has now been selected by the United States government agency Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) as part of its LogiQ program, to help deliver a logical qubit (quantum-bit) based on trapped ions.  

“Ions represent a fantastic platform helping us to learn how we can exploit the most exotic phenomena in quantum physics as resources powering a new generation of technologies,” Associate Professor Biercuk said. 

“There remain enormous challenges bringing any quantum computing technology to reality, but trapped-ions have demonstrated the critical building blocks essential for this effort, decades ahead of other proposed technologies.”

Quantum computing promises dramatic advantages over conventional computation, but progress has been stymied by the fragility of systems obeying the strange rules of quantum physics.  The LogiQ program aims to overcome these challenges by effectively stabilizing the quantum hardware.

“A logical qubit is considered a holy grail in quantum information,” explained Associate Professor Biercuk. “The concept underlying this program is that delicate quantum states can be preserved indefinitely – and put to work performing useful computational tasks – if the information they carry is physically spread out over many qubits.” 

The LogiQ program funds open university and industry research towards overcoming the limitations of current multi-qubit systems by building a logical qubit from a number of imperfect physical qubits. 

“Achieving this requires a major undertaking combining fundamental quantum physics with practical engineering expertise because building a logical qubit requires the underlying quantum hardware to perform extraordinarily well.” 

Associate Professor’s Quantum Control Laboratory was sought out for its expertise in combining quantum physics with control engineering in order to make the quantum hardware more resilient to error. 

The techniques this group has pioneered in this area earned Associate Professor Biercuk a Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher last year, and his related collaborative work on quantum simulation with trapped ions has been named the #8 “world-changing experiment” by BBC Focus. 

“US agencies interested in how quantum technology can be applied to problems in intelligence and security provide the majority of my group’s research support,” Associate Professor Biercuk said. 

“They seek our expertise – and that of my colleagues in the Quantum Science Group – in learning how quantum systems can be coaxed into performing useful tasks and put to work in technological applications.

“While the primary interests relate to quantum computing, this research topic has broad impacts on a wide range of futuristic quantum technologies.”

Further reading:

Associate Professor Biercuk will be speaking at TEDxSydney at the Sydney Opera House on 25 May.

Vivienne Reiner

Media and PR Adviser (Science, Veterinary Science, Agriculture)
Address
  • Room 192, Level 1 Carslaw F07

Related articles

14 March 2019

Why the perfect office temperature is a myth

Air conditioning industries claim 22 degrees Celsius as the uniform temperature for offices to ensure peak performance by workers. Research suggests that it's not quite that simple write Professor Richard de Dear, Fan Zhang and Professor Peter Hancock.
14 March 2019

Prestigious title awarded for marine robotics

Professor Stefan Williams has been recognised by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers for research excellence in the field of oceanographic survey and marine robotics.
14 March 2019

How marine snow cools the planet

Researchers in the School of Geosciences have mapped out how carbonate formations have helped regulate Earth's temperature over 120 million years. Dr Andriana Dutkiewicz warns global warming could release some of that carbon into the atmosphere.
12 March 2019

Sydney united to build a Quantum Harbour City

Sydney is fast becoming recognised as the global destination for quantum technology. Research teams at the University of Sydney and UNSW are finding that cooperation alongside competition provide a fertile ground for advancement.
09 March 2019

Universities welcome NSW Government backing for Sydney Quantum Academy

The University of Sydney is working with three other universities to establish the Sydney Quantum Academy, helping to ensure that cutting-edge quantum research translates into a sustainable industry and jobs.