Australia's First Quantum Computing Hardware Company Launches at UNSW

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 24, 2017

Today the NSW government announced it had also injected $8.7 million into SQC to become a shareholder.

The commitment builds on earlier investments from UNSW and its quantum computing researchers ($25 million), Commonwealth Bank of Australia ($14 million), Telstra ($10 million over two years) and the Australian Government ($25 million over five years) through its National Innovation & Science Agenda.

"This new company, led by UNSW, will help to ensure we remain global leaders in the race to develop a silicon based quantum computer", Mr Barilaro said.

Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T), Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd will operate from new laboratories within CQC2T's UNSW headquarters.

Speaking at an event to launch the company at UNSW on 23 August, chief researcher and board member, Professor Michelle Simmons, said that the three-way collaboration between government, industry and universities was "unique internationally".

"I know the rest of the world is watching us", Simmons said.

Michelle Simmons, UNSW Professor of Physics and director of the CQC2T with Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science at the company launch.

"We are launching here an Australian company which is at the forefront of what some people have described as the next space race", Senator Sinodinos said.

Quantum computers promise to deliver a massive increase in processing power over conventional computers by using a single electron or nucleus of an atom as the basic processing unit - a quantum bit, or qubit.

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane said the potential benefits to the state are considerable. He said the company is seeking three more investors to fund it at similar levels to Telstra and CBA, and is now on the hunt for a CEO.

"The company will need additional moneys, and the business plan contemplates it will have additional shareholders who will join".

"We realise we do it as one of many partners... and we congratulate UNSW for taking such a sensible and far-sighted view with its long-term patent strategy", she said.

Silicon Quantum Computing's board members include Simmons; Hugh Bradlow, Telstra's Chief Scientist; David Whiteing, CBA's Chief Information Officer; and Glenys Beauchamp, Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Corporate lawyer and company director Stephen Menzies will act as interim chair.

Up to 40 staff are projected to be hired because of the new company, including 25 postdoctoral researchers, 12 PhD students, and lab technicians, with recruitment now underway.

Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd research leadership team.

Opening new state-of-the-art laboratories at CQC2T in 2016, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised UNSW's research in the transformative technology as the "best work in the world".

"The NSW Government has keenly supported the ground-breaking research of the UNSW quantum team over many years, and it is great to see the team targeting the challenges of commercialisation through this new company", she said. The company would maintain vital IP in Australia and develop a nascent quantum information ecosystem in NSW, he said.

"We have a board that is very corporate-focussed on developing and funding the engineering work to develop a 10-qubit device". We will fund hardware. "But beyond that we see that we have a stage on which we can develop across Australia, and Australian institutions, a broad quantum industry". "All of whom we hope will bring strategic focus to the business and company, and also will bring their own enthusiasm and passion for quantum technologies", Menzies added.

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