Commonwealth Bank has provided in-principle commitment for an additional $10 million to support Australian researchers who are well advanced in their efforts to build the world’s first silicon-based quantum computer in Sydney.
In a statement, CommBank welcomed the federal government's decision to invest $26 million in the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology as part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda.
Following this decision, the bank intends to invest an additional $10 million in the Centre across the next five years. It follows an initial investment of $5 million announced in December 2014.
Commonwealth Bank chief executive, Ian Narev, said the potential benefits of quantum computing are transformational, and show that Australian innovation can be world-leading.
“The University of New South Wales’ quantum computer research team led by UNSW Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons proves that world-leading innovation can happen – and is happening – in Australia.
“We are pleased to provide further tangible support for the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. For innovation to thrive, there must be collaboration between governments, research institutions, businesses and entrepreneurs. Our investment has a long-term focus and is an example of potential collaboration and commercialisation. It enables us to support innovation in Australia as well as aligning ourselves with innovation that we believe will materially benefit our customers and shareholders over the next decade,” Mr Narev said.
Chief information officer, David Whiteing, said, “In today’s world everyone relies increasingly on computers, whether in the palm of our hand, or on our desks at home, in schools and universities, and at work. Quantum computing is set to increase the speed and power of computers beyond what we can currently imagine. This is still some time in the future, but the time for investment is now.”
The Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology is a global leader in the engineering and control of individual atoms in silicon and associated manipulation of quantum states.
It is working with the support of the Australian Government, Commonwealth Bank and others to build a quantum computer prototype in silicon, the material of choice in the semiconductor industry. Across the past two years the research team has demonstrated the longest coherence time for qubits in the solid state as well as patented the process to scale the technology in silicon.
The bank said its commitment is subject to finalisation of commercial details, including the establishment of a corporate structure for the relevant projects to facilitate the Government’s investment.