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New Zealand Takes a Step into the Second Quantum Revolution

Over the last six years, quantum science has shifted from the domain of physicists interested in learning about the universe on extremely small scales to a source of new technologies that could all be used for practical purposes. These technologies make use of the quantum properties of single atoms or light particles. Sensors, communication networks, and computers are among them.

Many aspects of society, including health care, financial services, defence, weather modelling, and cyber security, are expected to be impacted by quantum technologies. Clearly, they offer enticing advantages. However, the history of technological development shows that we cannot simply assume that new tools and systems will be in the public interest.

The evolution of quantum technologies in New Zealand has changed the face of the country’s future, as the New Zealand government has made a large new investment in the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies over the next 7.5 years. The photonics industry in New Zealand is worth at least $1.2 billion and is growing at a 10% annual rate. New Zealand also have a world-class reputation in quantum optics, photonics, and precision atomic physics.

An article stated that New Zealand has played a leading role in quantum and atomic physics for decades, particularly in the field of quantum optics, where Dan Walls, who the centre was named after, was a leading pioneer.

The United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States have pledged more than NZ$4 billion in additional funding for this quantum revolution. China is also committing undisclosed amounts of money. This is in addition to tech behemoths such as Google, IBM, and Intel. The possibilities for quantum physics are vast, ranging from computing that will revolutionise sectors such as healthcare, finance, and mathematics to improved methods of measuring and understanding the word.

The government’s investment will allow the Dodd-Walls Centre to assist our industries, support the development of new technologies, and inform our educational programmes. It will allow us to continue our work to improve the rural economy with partners in the agricultural technology and Māori economy sectors to improve the rural economy. In addition to the country’s economic impact, New Zealand will directly improve the wellbeing of all Kiwis through its environmental and medical research.

The challenge for New Zealand is to ensure that these opportunities are available to everyone, regardless of background. Education will assist the next generation in diversifying and expanding Aotearoa’s knowledge economy, thereby improving our collective well-being. The world is on the verge of a second quantum revolution, and the mission is to ensure that New Zealanders, regardless of who they are or where they live, are not left out.

While quantum computing is still a long way from becoming a mainstream technology, quantum technology already has a wide range of real-world applications in healthcare, defence, financial services, and privacy. Bits are used in regular computers to store information that has only two states: zero or one. Quantum computers, on the other hand, allow subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at the same time, allowing them to be either a zero, a one, or both at the same time.

According to a report, there are now more than 121 New Zealand companies involved in this industry, employing more than 2500 people and accounting for about $1.2b of economic activity. Leading players in the Kiwi industry include an Auckland-based company that makes high-end testing equipment for the optical telecommunications market and now employs 50 people.

Scientists are now investigating the power of quantum computers, which are 100 million times faster than any classical computer and, in theory, will be able to solve computation problems that are currently considered impossible. The promise of quantum computers is that they will help to quickly answer questions that today’s computers would take decades to solve.

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