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Google Australia expanding investment in quantum computing with local Universities

This week, Google Australia announced they are expanding their investment in quantum computing research, partnering with a number of Australian Universities, including Macquarie University (MQ), University of Technology (UTS), University of Sydney (USYD) and UNSW Sydney (UNSW) .

Google Australia announced in 2021 that they were deepening investment in quantum computing under the Digital Future Initiative (DFI), a $1 billion investment in Australian infrastructure, research and partnerships that aims to strengthen local capabilities, support jobs and help build Australia’s digital economy for the future.

A century after Quantum Mechanics arose in the 1920s, the promise of Quantum Computing rests on that same premise, that we live in a quantum reality that cannot be accurately simulated using traditional computers.

Quantum computers have the potential to better our understanding of how the world behaves on a quantum scale, leading to discoveries that could address problems that have until now, seemed out of our reach.

Quantum Chemistry alone could enable the discovery of new life-saving medicines and allow us to better model and predict the impact of atmospheric matter on our climate.

The potential of quantum computers goes well beyond simulating physical systems and can speed up solving systems, crack cryptography and enable new applications of machine learning.

Having Google’s investment in Australian Quantum Science is a testament to the world class research that has been supported by the Australian Research Council for over two decades. I am delighted that Google sees Australia as somewhere to do quantum research. A step in building Australia’s quantum industry here.

Dr Cathey Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist

Australian research to help solve global problems

This collaborative research will help tackle issues of global significance and will span the gamut from Quantum Algorithms and Quantum Hardware research.

Teams will look into ways to make quantum computing useful and usable, exploring application fields like sensing, communications and materials science – which have the potential to change how we interact with the world.

Simulating chemistry is likely to be one of the first applications of quantum computers, and my goal is to develop the quantum algorithms that will allow near-term quantum computers to give us insights into chemical processes that are too complicated to simulate on any classical supercomputer.

Associate Professor Ivan Kassal, School of Chemistry, University of Sydney

  • Professor Dominic Berry (MQ), for example, is developing algorithms that could be used to design a more efficient process to produce fertilizer – or to design faster charging, longer range batteries for electric cars.
  • Professor Susan Coppersmith (UNSW) is researching properties of materials on an atomic scale.
  • Associate Professor Ivan Kassal (USyd) is developing new quantum algorithms for simulating chemical reactions, to better understand how pollution affects our atmosphere and ecosystems.
  • Professor Bremner (UTS) is exploring mathematical structures to speed up computation with quantum computers.

Google says they are also building their quantum research team based in Sydney, which includes our newly-appointed quantum computing scientist, Dr. Marika Kieferova, who will help to coordinate these collaborations and represent the Quantum research team locally in Australia.

This investment will allow us to explore fundamental questions about the nature of Quantum Computing and help us progress towards scalable quantum computing.

With partners, they forward to exploring this exciting new frontier of technology, discovering new possibilities and paving the way for a stronger digital future – in Australia and around the world.

“It’s fantastic to see Google working closely with university-based research teams in Australia, providing funding that helps us grow the local talent base and creates opportunities for early career researchers. I’ve always enjoyed working with the Google Quantum AI team and I’m looking forward to the scientific discoveries we will make together through this project and into the future. One of the biggest challenges in quantum computing is understanding which applications quantum computers can deliver performance that goes beyond classical computing. In this project, my team at UTS will work with Google on this problem, examining the mathematical structures that drive quantum algorithms to go beyond classical computing.”

Professor Michael Bremner, UTS

For a global company like Google to invest heavily into the Australian market, it is a real testament to the local talent we have in this space.

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