Prof. Sanvito is the CRANN Research Institute Director, AMBER PI and a Trinity College Dublin Professor of Physics and Condensed Matter Theory.
Here he comments on “Quantum 2030 A National Quantum Technologies Strategy for Ireland”
“I welcome Minister Harris’ announcement of the first national strategy on quantum technologies. This follows in the footsteps of several other technology-intensive countries and exemplifies Ireland’s vision and ambition in the quantum space. With a large concentration of multinationals operating in the quantum space either at the hardware, software or service level, and with a young and vibrant academic community, Ireland has a unique opportunity to play an important role in this exploding future technological and economical sector.
With an emphasis on excellence in research and talent development the Quantum 2030 strategy crystallises the effort made at CRANN and AMBER over the last few years. Our MSc in Quantum Science and Technology, the first and only in Ireland, launched in 2020 has grown from strength to strength. The quality of our graduates is demonstrated by their employment in the quantum industry across Europe and their enrolment in PhD programs around the globe. Such supply of highly skilled talents has recently motivated Algorithmiq and Horizon Quantum, two quantum SMEs from Finland and Singapore, to open offices in Dublin and we are actively working to bring more quantum companies to Ireland.
Such effort has recently culminated in the launch of the Trinity Quantum Alliance (TQA), a common space in the Grand Canal Dock area where academia and industry quantum researchers meet. With Microsoft, IBM, Algorithmiq, Horizon Quantum and Moody’s Analytics as funding partners, the TQA focuses research at the foundation of quantum technologies and aims at developing new quantum computational strategies for materials design, chemistry, process optimization and finance. It also provides a model for the future quantum ecosystem in Ireland, where hardware developers (IBM) and providers (Microsoft) work together with software designers (Algorithmiq and Horizon Quantum) to provide solution to end customers (Moody’s Analytic), all underpinned by the world-leading expertise of our researchers.
AMBER and CRANN have an enormous role to play in this ecosystem. With quantum chemistry as the likely first real-life application of quantum computing, our material-modelling teams (Sanvito and Lunghi) will be able to integrate quantum algorithms in complex material-design workflows. These will enable the accelerated discovery of, for instance, new catalysts for the transformation of greenhouse gases, or new drugs tailor-made to individual patients. At the same time our quantum thermodynamics (Goold and Mitchison) and quantum information (Binder) groups will be able to understand the constrains of quantum computation, to optimize its use and ultimately to design new hardware. Finally, there are still many materials problems associated to quantum technology. For instance, a huge challenge concerns moving quantum technologies closer to room temperature, and here research in plasmonic (Hess, Hobbs) can provide a valuable avenue. Likewise, coherent communication between quantum chips is currently a highly sought-after technology, essential to scale up quantum computation. A deep understanding of the interaction between superconductors and optical fibres appears key to enable a breakthrough.
The Quantum 2030 strategy certainly sets the ambition for Ireland in the quantum technology space. This, however, has to be followed by an appropriate execution plan, involving both the public and private sector, with a level of investment comparable to other countries. The potential for Ireland is huge, but so is the competition, therefore only careful strategic investment will unleash such potential.”
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