The University of Sydney and Microsoft have signed a multi-year partnership to create an environment where the building blocks for quantum computers can be developed and tested.

The long-term Microsoft investment will bring state of the art equipment, allow the recruitment of new staff and significant research funding into the University, assuring the nation will play a key role in what the university is calling the “quantum economy.”

Housed within Sydney Uni’s $150 million Nanoscience Hub, Microsoft’s Station Q is set to become a premier centre for quantum computing.

Station Q Sydney joins Microsoft’s other experimental research sites at Purdue University, Delft University of Technology, and the University of Copenhagen. There are only four labs of this kind in the world.

Sydney-born Professor David Reilly, and Station Q Sydney Scientific Director described quantum computing as one of the most significant opportunities in the 21st century. He said it has the potential to transform the global economy and society at large.

“The deep partnership between Microsoft and the University of Sydney will allow us to help build a rich and robust local quantum economy by attracting more skilled people, investing in new equipment and research, and accelerate progress in quantum computing – a technology that we believe will disrupt the way we live, reshaping national and global security and revolutionising medicine, communications and transport,” he said.

The focus of Reilly and his team at Station Q Sydney is to bring quantum computing out of the laboratory and into the real world where it can have genuine impact.

“We’ve reached a point where we can move from mathematical modelling and theory to applied engineering for significant scale-up,” he said.

Douglas Carmean, Partner Architect of Microsoft’s Quantum Architectures and Computation (QuArC) group, based at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters, said it was important for Microsoft’to collaborate with leading universities.

“It was only 40 years ago that the computing revolution really took hold, realising Microsoft’s vision for personal computers to be on every desktop; Microsoft is now focused on what we see as potentially even more impactful – making the quantum leap,” Carmean said.

“Our significant investment in quantum computing is a collaborative effort between Microsoft and academia and this is what will ultimately accelerate the transition from pure research to the development of useful quantum machines.”

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