The Commonwealth Bank is investing $5 million over the next five years to help researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in their quest to create a silicon-based quantum computer.
Scientists at the university’s ARC Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology will use the funds to buy and maintain equipment and conduct experiments for two-, three-year projects.
The first project is to demonstrate entanglement in a scalable silicon-based quantum computing architecture and the second is to coherently transport quantum information to create ‘flying qubits’ within the computer.
These projects have already resulted in ground-breaking research for qubit coherence times (the time available for processing), holding the world record for a solid state system.
The work is being conducted by UNSW Scientia professors Michelle Simmons and Andrew Dzurak, professor Sven Rogge, and associate professor Andrea Morello.
David Whiteing, CIO at the Commonwealth Bank, said the university is at the forefront of a global scientific race to build the first silicon-based quantum computer.
“This race is akin to the space race half a century ago where countries wanted to be the first to fly to the moon – and in this modern race, we want Australia to get there first,” he said.
Whiteing said the speed of quantum computing means it promises to solve real world issues such as searching large databases, solving complicated sets of equations and modelling atomic systems such as biological molecules and drugs.
“This means they’ll be enormously useful for healthcare industries, government finance industries, and security,” he said.
UNSW is at the forefront of quantum computing research and development. In September 2012, the university created the world’s first working quantum bit or ‘qubit’ based on a single atom in silicon.
The ‘qubit’ enables information to be stored and read using the spin of an electron bound to a phosphorous atom in a silicon chip.
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