Posted October 05, 2018 11:20:36 Australia is about to embark on a major quantum computing push.
The nation has announced it will host a $10 billion (AUD$13 billion) research institute, and the Government is set to invest $7.5 billion.
The institute will work with the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute to develop “advanced computing and research tools” that will allow researchers to “think like a quantum computer”.
The first stage of the new quantum computing research will be held at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Canberra.
This is a huge development for the country.
It is a step in the right direction to make Australia a global leader in quantum computing and it will be very exciting for the next generation of researchers, said James Hill, who heads DRDO’s Quantum Technology Research Unit.
“The key for this research is that it’s done in a way that the research community can understand and use it,” he told ABC Radio.
The Australian Strategic Technology Institute (ASTI) is a department within the Defence Department responsible for the design, development, and testing of new technologies.
Its primary role is to support Australia’s technological leadership in science and technology.
It is currently led by Professors Michael Whelan and James Hill.
A key part of the institute’s mission will be the development of advanced quantum computing tools that will enable researchers to think like a computer, in a manner that will reduce the number of steps required to achieve a desired result.
This new research, which is being spearheaded by the Australian Research Council, is likely to bring new opportunities for research in quantum technologies.
Professor Hill said this was a big step forward in the direction of quantum computers, which are used to simulate quantum states.
“We are trying to get to the point where you can simulate a superposition of quantum states, where the information is represented in a single unit of time, where you have a single qubit and then you have multiple qubits,” he said.
“This is the most important thing to be able to do.”
The institute’s new quantum tools are designed to enable researchers “to think like computers”.
The new tools will be able read the quantum state of a qubit in order to “make decisions about how to store or compute information”, and use this information to perform calculations.
They are also designed to make calculations using a quantum bit’s state to “decide if an object is a quantum particle or a wave function”.
“It’s very exciting to be working with the Department of Defence, because the Department has made a commitment to develop this technology, and we want to see it implemented in a commercial setting,” said Dr Hill.
He said the institute was also focused on “improving the quality of life of the Australian people”.
“We have to do this in a cost-effective way, and so that the Australian taxpayer gets the benefit of the research, not just the government,” he added.
The institute has already announced it is looking to fund its research by creating a quantum computing centre for universities and science academies.
Its aim is to create a quantum learning centre, and it is also developing an Australian quantum network, which will be a network of laboratories and universities in Australia.
Dr Hill said the Institute’s quantum computing efforts would not be limited to Australia.
“Australia is a big part of our science and we are trying not to be dependent on the United States,” he explained.
“So we will be using the international quantum research community to make it work here in Australia.”
This is not the first time Australia has been working on a quantum research institute.
In 2017, the country announced plans to establish a quantum network that would enable researchers and scientists to collaborate on research.
Dr Paul S. Kallstrom, a professor of physics at the University of Technology Sydney, said Australia’s efforts to become a quantum-enabled nation were “the logical extension” of its long-standing research and development activities.
“When we started, Australia was not a major research power in quantum physics,” he wrote in an email to ABC News.
“Quantum physics is not an area of research that has a lot of traction.”
Dr Kallstra explained that a number of countries, including the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, had been investing in quantum research.
“It has become a key area of science, a critical area of the national economy and of national defence and is attracting attention around the world,” he continued.
Professor Kallstrons work at the university will focus on quantum computing, the ability of atoms to be used as a building block for the building blocks of computers, and quantum cryptography, which has been used to protect information.
“To me, the next step in quantum technology is to take this further, and to do so in a much more sustainable and effective way,” he concluded.