Leading Australian university, Microsoft join forces in quantum computing research

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-25 14:51:21|Editor: An
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SYDNEY, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The University of Sydney announced its quantum computing partnership with multinational technology leader Microsoft Tuesday.

Scientists from both sides believe the partnership, signalling a strengthened relationship between education and industry, has the potential to change the world.

Professor David Reilly, who holds a joint position with Microsoft and the university, said the benefits of the collaboration are incalculable, and many students will benefit from it.

"It's an opportunity for the best and brightest students to become part of this effort to try and realise this technology, so it's truly an amazing opportunity for them," Reilly told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Microsoft has built only a select number of Station Q sites, research centres dedicated to creating a universal quantum computer. The selection of Sydney as the city to house one of only four centres in the world is a prestigious achievement.

David Pritchard, Microsoft's Chief of Staff for Technology and Research, told Xinhua that Sydney's reputation for technological excellence in quantum science was the reason behind its selection.

Station Q Sydney is now located at the university's state-of-the-art Nanoscience Lab - a 150-million-dollar (119-million-U.S. dollar) complex, one of the most technologically advanced scientific facilities in the world.

Reilly said the pressure is on for the two organizations to take on the challenge of constructing a quantum computer.

"It does feel like a space race, but at the same time, it's a collaborative scientific effort, with collaboration within the city and with others in different countries," Reilly said.

There are opportunities for scientists and engineers from a variety of disciplines to have involvement in the project, and Pritchard said quality researchers are a very important part of ensuring the ongoing success of the project, and pegged China as a possible talent acquisition source.

"If this becomes a destination where people can get really immersed and become part of our effort, whether it's from a mathematical, theoretical physics or engineering background, there are opportunities for people around the world to be part of that," Pritchard said.

"We're always on the lookout, and we speak to Chinese universities regularly. They're very involved in some of our projects and we've been partnering with Chinese scientists for a number of years."

Vice-chancellor of the university Michael Spence said the partnership can be likened to a "marriage," and commercial interests are not the focus of the relationship.

"It's between two organisations that are about making a difference in the world. This is an agreement between two mission-driven organisations that are excited about the future."