Federal government invests $15M in quantum computing

The government is putting in $15 million over a period of three years to support research into quantum computing.

The money will fund the strategic plan of the University of Waterloo-based Institute of Quantum Computing to carry out and commercialized research into quantum technologies.

Quantum information science is based on the idea that information science depends on quantum effects in physics. Quantum computing, a subfield of quantum information science, deals with the development of quantum computers and the use of algorithms to harness the power of a quantum computer. Large-scale quantum computers will be able to solve certain problems much more quickly than any classical computer.

The IQC’s goal is to be a world leader in the field of quantum computer science and the first centre in the world to commercialize discoveries in quantum research and apply them in medicine, resource discovery, and satellite-based, ultra-secure transmission of sensitive information as well as commercial methods for securing information using quantum computers.

The $15 million investment builds on previous federal support totalling approximately $74 million. The investment was announced by MP Peter Braid for Kitchener-Waterloo and Hon. Ed Holder, minister of state for science and technology.

The IQC was founded in 2002. It is currently located in the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre and the Research Advancement Centre at the University of Waterloo.

Lazaridis, former of CEO of Research in Motion (now BlackBerry), is one of the biggest donors to IQC, according to Raymond Laflamme, professor at the University of Waterloo and executive director of IQC.

Over the past 14 year, Lazaridis has provided more than $300 million to create the IQC and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, said Laflamme. This has led to Canada achieving a lengthy head start in quantum research over other countries, he said in an article in the Globe and Mail.

The United Kingdom has recently committed over $480 million to create quantum research hubs across the country and Singapore, China, Australia, Japan and the United States are all investing in quantum research as well.

“We fired the starting gun in this race 14 years ago,” LaFlamme said. “Thanks to visionary investing and strong political commitment, we already have the infrastructure…”

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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