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Quantum tech has ‘huge potential’ in Australia

The quantum technology sector holds the potential to create 16,000 jobs in Australia and generate over AU$4 billion in annual revenue in the next 20 years, according to CSIRO, the country’s national science agency.

Quantum technology, which is an emerging field of tech which relies on the principles of quantum physics, could potentially advance technological capabilities in several different sectors, including communications, drug and materials development and national security, CSIRO says.

In the same way that quantum physics deals with the behaviour of the world at the smallest scale, quantum technology aims to innovate tech to control quantum particles and influence their behaviour.

Precision sensors, secure communications, and supercomputers can be improved upon using this type of technology, and labs across Australia are studying it.

Quantum computing, in particular, seems to be the most promising opportunity to grow quantum tech in Australia, according to the Chief Scientist at CSIOR.

However, to be a success, researchers and industry leaders must come together to find solutions to development challenges.

The Chief Scientist noted that quantum computing has the potential to contribute more than $2.5 billion to the economy each year while spurring breakthroughs in drug development, more efficient industrial processes, and accelerated machine learning systems.

The commercialisation of quantum-enhanced sensors and communications technologies could also generate upwards of $1.7 billion in revenue.

To realise these opportunities, the country must have a national conversation about a coordinated, collaborative approach to growing a thriving domestic quantum economy.

Recently, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre (funded by CSIRO) and quantum computing startup Quantum Brilliance announced a new ‘hub’ aimed at developing quantum expertise.

According to one report, Pawsey staff will establish expertise in quantum computing systems through the partnership, before installing and providing access to a quantum emulator at its supercomputing centres.

The Chief Technology Officer at Pawsey noted that the partnership will help ensure the research community has access to the best possible service.

The teams are looking forward to exploring how quantum computing can contribute to solving grand challenges alongside existing and future high-performance computing systems.

The new field of tech also has the potential to guide Australia into becoming a hub for sustainable tech, according to CSIRO Chief Executive, who says the technology presents an opportunity for the country to be a key differentiator in a highly competitive global environment.

He noted that as Australia recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, the country will need to create new industries to give Australia an advantage globally to produce unique high margin products that support higher wages. Science and technology are the keys to economic prosperity in a world driven by disruption.

A Main Sequence Ventures partner, whose company invests in quantum start-ups, says the field has the potential to shake up the global economy.

He stated that as global competition heats up, Australia already has several early-stage companies and start-ups built upon IP and expertise developed in Australian universities that have attracted over $125 million of investment and funding in recent years.

Main Sequence invests in deep-tech start-ups because they are truly transformative, and quantum is exactly the transformative technology the economy needs at a time like this.

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