Author Daphne Leprince-Rinquet puts together an informative, albeit rather vernacular, article on the origins and current status of the U.K.’s quantum technology initiatives. Good read from start to finish. Because Quantum is Coming. Qubit
The global quantum computing race has begun. What will it take to win it?
+ National quantum programs and decade-long quantum strategies are increasingly being announced by governments around the world. And as countries unlock billions-worth of budgets, it is becoming clear that a furious competition is gradually unrolling. Nations want to make sure that they are the place-to-be when quantum technologies start showing some real-world value – and the UK, for one, is keen to prove that it is a quantum hotspot in the making.
“We have a very successful program that is widely admired and emulated around the world,” said Peter Knight, who sits on the strategic advisory for the UK’s national quantum technology program (NQTP), as he provided a virtual update on the NQTP’s performance so far.
+ The UK is just over halfway through the NQTP, which saw its second five-year phase kick off at the end of 2019, and at the same time hit an impressive milestone of £1 billion ($1.37 billion) combined investment. This, the government claims, is letting the UK keep pace with competitors who are also taking interest in quantum – namely, the US and China.+ There is no doubt that the country has made strides in the field of quantum since the start of the NQTP. New ground-breaking research papers are popping up on a regular basis, and so are news reports of rounds of funding from promising quantum startups.
+ Since it launched in 2014, there has been abundant evidence of the academic successes of the initial phase of the NQTP. In Birmingham, the Quantum Sensing Hub is developing new types of quantum-based magnetic sensors that could help diagnose brain and heart conditions, while the Quantum Metrology Institute leads the development of quantum atomic clocks. There are up to 160 research groups and universities registered across the UK with programs that are linked to quantum technologies, working on projects ranging from the design of quantum algorithms to the creation of new standards and verification methods.
+ But even top-notch researchers and some of the most exciting quantum startups might not cut it. The UK has positioned itself well from an early stage in the quantum race, but becoming a frontrunner was only one part of the job. Preserving the country’s position for the coming years might prove to be the hardest challenge yet.
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