Pioneering software centre part of ‘explosion’ in quantum technology investment

NSW Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane addresses the launch. Photo: Nicole Janes

NSW Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane addresses the launch. Photo: Nicole Janes

In summary: 
  • The new Centre for Quantum Software and Information (UTS:QSI) will focus on research in all major aspects of quantum computing and communication, collaborating with top teams around the world
  • The UTS:QSI is already establishing its influence – its researchers will deliver nine of 58 talks at the 20th annual conference on quantum information processing in the US next month

UTS is now home to the first Australian centre focused exclusively on the development of the software and information processing infrastructure required for future quantum technologies.

The Centre for Quantum Software and Information (UTS:QSI), launched this month, will contribute to the new era of computing being driven by demand for greater computational power by advancing software science and technology.

Speaking at the launch, Richard Jozsa, Leigh Trapnell Professor of Quantum Physics, University of Cambridge, referred to a second computing ‘revolution’ following the information revolution of the 20th century and said any national effort wishing to stay at the forefront needs to support pure theory such as that examined by UTS:QSI. The launch also featured a keynote address by NSW Chief Scientist Mary O’Kane.

Professor Jozsa and fellow speaker Andrew Dzurak, Scientia Professor in Nanoelectronics, UNSW, also spoke of the “explosion” in investment in quantum technology occurring worldwide from both the business sector including IBM, Microsoft, Intel and other leading IT companies, the governments in the US, UK, throughout the European Union, and more recently China.

 UTS:QSI will have five key research areas:

  • identifying tasks that demonstrate quantum supremacy
  • enriching the quantum algorithm toolbox and developing new design methodologies and frameworks
  • developing quantum algorithms to a) solve hard constraint satisfaction and optimisation problems in general and spatial and temporal reasoning in particular and b) for privacy-preserving data analytics.
  • discovering new programming models to exploit the unique power of quantum computers
  • developing new theories and technologies for the implementation of secure quantum-enhanced networks: quantum information theory, quantum communication and networking, quantum cryptography

“A key focus for UTS:QSI is to create state-of-the-art techniques for super-reliable communication and build 100 per cent secure, unbreakable cryptographic systems, promising game-changing security technologies in sectors such as banking, business, finance, and police,” said Centre Director, ARC Future Fellow Professor Runyao Duan.

UTS:QSI director Runyao Duan. Photo: Nicole Janes UTS:QSI director Runyao Duan. Photo: Nicole Janes

“This is a very exciting time as we focus on elevating our research into quantum software to be the best in Australia and internationally. Our research areas cover major aspects of quantum computing and communication, and we will see significant impacts in Science, Engineering, and Education. We have a select team of highly qualified people who will work with the top teams around the world and make a significant difference in peoples’ lives.”

The Centre’s Research Director is Professor Mingsheng Ying who has made significant contributions to quantum programming and quantum information theory.  This includes a major research breakthrough in establishing a full-fledged Floyd-Hoare logic for quantum programs with (relative) completeness, and authoring the first systematic book in the field of quantum programming, Foundations of Quantum Programming.  

Professor Ian Burnett, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and IT (FEIT), said: “This period of sustained innovation in the field of quantum computing is leading to many developments and we are investing in research which will provide powerful tools for when large-scale quantum information processing becomes a reality.”

The Centre’s advisory board includes world-leading academics from Oxford, MIT and Cambridge universities, industry experts from IBM, Microsoft and Google and NSW Chief Scientist Mary O’Kane.

Prof Jozsa also noted the success of QSI researchers in a high level of representation at the 20th Annual Conference on Quantum Information Processing In January 2017. Featuring nine of the 58 talks to be delivered, the UTS:QSI is clearly establishing itself as a major international influence in the theoretical quantum information sciences.

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