Microsoft has gone all in on its quantum computing research partnership with the University of Sydney, striking a multi-year global agreement with the institution.
The deal sees Microsoft commit to a new, long-term phase of its investment at the university, with the funding expected to result in state-of-the-art equipment, see the recruitment of new staff, help build out the nation’s scientific and engineering talent, and focus research project funding into the university.
The new agreement represents a confirmation that the Station Q Sydney quantum computing lab in the university’s Quantum Nanoscience Laboratory will continue with, and expand upon, its long-term research goals.
In April, Microsoft revealed it would double the size of the lab, in a move expected to see at least 20 additional researchers come on board.
Directed by Professor David Reilly from the university’s School of Physics, and housed inside the $150 million Sydney Nanoscience Hub, Station Q Sydney adds to Microsoft’s other experimental research sites at Purdue University, Delft University of Technology, and the University of Copenhagen.
There are four labs of this kind in the world, the company said.
Reilly joined Microsoft late last year as the scientific director of Station Q Sydney, the Australian arm of Microsoft’s global Station Q initiative. The focus of Professor Reilly and his team at Station Q Sydney is to help bring quantum computing out of the laboratory and into the real world.
“We’ve reached a point where we can move from mathematical modelling and theory to applied engineering for significant scale-up,” Reilly said.
“The deep partnership between Microsoft and the University of Sydney will allow us to help build a rich and robust local quantum economy by attracting more skilled people, investing in new equipment and research, and accelerate progress in quantum computing – a technology that we believe will disrupt the way we live, reshaping national and global security and revolutionising medicine, communications and transport,” he said.
The move to formalise and build out the Station Q Sydney lab comes as the New South Wales government announces a $26 million fund to support the commercialisation of quantum computing.
Earlier this month, Technology Business Research outlined some of the industry areas that are expected to see the greatest opportunities for the commercialisation of quantum computing, including security, health and financial services.