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Developing Quantum Technology for Commercial Applications in Singapore

Quantum computing applications are not particularly mainstream now, but quantum computing as a field has been growing at an accelerated rate these past few years. As quantum technology has immense benefits to analyse massive sets of data at breakneck speeds, a few sectors have been utilising this technology, including cybersecurity, pharmaceuticals, and logistics.

The National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Singapore’s Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP) announced that they would be working with a French aerospace company to develop and test quantum technologies for industry use. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) marks the start of a two-year partnership to jointly develop and test quantum technologies for commercial applications.

Under the MoU, Singapore’s Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP) and Thales aim to advance quantum technologies and prepare industry players for their arrival. The partnership will see industry and academic experts develop capabilities to test and evaluate interdisciplinary quantum security technologies.

Both parties will also explore potential research collaboration opportunities in the fields of new materials and design for quantum sensing. Additionally, they will organise joint activities such as seminars and conferences to share their expertise and showcase their research outcomes.

The Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP) is an initiative launched by the National Research Foundation, Singapore (NRF) and hosted at NUS. The projects under the collaboration span technologies for security and sensing and involve QEP researchers across Singapore’s institutes of higher learning and research centres.

Building on this momentum of this partnership, a forerunner in the quantum revolution, will accelerate innovation and development of quantum solutions that are commercially attractive locally and globally.”

– Professor Chen Tsuhan , NUS Deputy President (Research & Technology)

The algorithms and quantum random number generation technology in these types of equipment provide the crypto-agility to easily implement quantum-safe crypto and combat the threats of quantum computing. This equipment would be deployed for proof-of-concept trials and testbeds in Singapore.

Quantum technologies open almost infinite possibilities for the future and the researchers see real potential in three types of quantum applications, namely in sensors, communications and post-quantum cryptology.

While this initial partnership will involve the network encryption technology to provide crypto-agility and cybersecurity, the company will continue to work with the R&T ecosystem in Singapore to explore new topics, including using novel materials for quantum sensing or in secured communications in quantum technologies.

The joint team of scientists and engineers will also develop devices that tap on quantum physics for higher performance. This is an area of focus under Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 Plan (RIE2025). Director (Smart Nation and Digital Economy) at NRF shared that quantum communications and security, as well as quantum devices and instrumentation, are two significant focus areas under the QEP.

Quantum communication, relies on quantum physics to make secure encryption keys that can protect confidential messages sent over public networks, while quantum sensors can use quantum physics to make precise measurements. In the future, quantum sensors may help vehicles navigate without global-positioning systems, power new medical imaging technologies and contribute to many other fields.

A third family of quantum technologies, quantum computing, harnesses quantum physics to process information in new ways. It brings the promise of surpassing supercomputers for some data problems but also carries the threat of being able to break some of today’s standard encryption.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, NUS has signed an MoU with an international tech giant for collaboration to boost the development of quantum communication and computing technologies and explore potential industrial applications of quantum capabilities.

Under the MoU, the tech giant will support QEP in the development of quantum computing research and projects and connect to the National Quantum-Safe Network for quantum communications. Both areas include the identification of use cases and development of applications that could support future commercialisation of Singapore-designed quantum computing and communication technologies, and the joint organisation of academic, scientific, and public outreach activities like seminars, workshops, festivals, and conferences.

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