Pioneering the quantum revolution in Canada
By Sohail Kamal, EP&T West Coast CorrespondentAutomation / Robotics Electronics Engineering Software Engineering Alberta B.C. computing Horizons quantum
Quantum Horizons Alberta vies to bolster Alberta’s research capacity
In an era where technological innovation is rapidly evolving, Alberta is positioning itself at the forefront of the quantum revolution. Quantum Horizons Alberta (QHA), a new initiative, is set to bolster Alberta’s quantum research capacity, aiming to bridge the gap between fundamental quantum science and its practical applications.
The quantum realm, while still a mystery in many aspects, is on the horizon of new knowledge which holds the promise of revolutionary breakthroughs. From the potential of quantum computers that can model financial markets with unparalleled precision to the development of new drugs and accurate weather forecasting, the possibilities are vast and transformative.
West Tech Report recently connected with Joseph Maciejko, the acting director for the University of Alberta’s QHA Node to delve deeper into the initiative’s goals, strategies, and expectations.
When asked about the evolving landscape of technological innovation in Alberta, Maciejko highlighted the increasing role of fundamental scientific advances.
“Artificial intelligence and quantum are branches of science that are starting to play significant roles. With transistors in computer chips nearing their size limits, quantum effects are challenging traditional chip engineering,” says Maciejko. “The National Quantum Strategy (NQS) is a testament to the growing importance of quantum technologies, and Alberta is well-poised to be a leader in this realm.”
The quantum mission
One of the primary goals of QHA is to delve deeper into the fundamental science of quantum. “While there’s a lot of ongoing applied science and technology-focused research in Alberta, the fundamental science of quantum remains elusive. QHA aims to fill this gap, focusing on theoretical research that can lead to groundbreaking discoveries,” Maciejko explains.
QHA is an initiative built in partnership with the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge. To ensure the success of this initiative, attracting more top-tier quantum research professors to Alberta is crucial. The representative shared QHA’s strategy, “We aim to foster collaborations by recruiting in distinct but complementary areas of quantum research. Alberta’s leading universities already have a strong quantum foundation, which is attractive to prospective hires,” says Maciejko. QHA is hoping to create exceptional research environments, to attract and support a strong cohort of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. By hosting community-building events, QHA will establish Alberta as a world class research network.
Industry collaboration, commercialization
QHA’s aim will be to connect quantum academics and industry. This growth will undoubtedly spark new startups and industrial partnerships. “One area ripe for such partnerships is artificial intelligence (AI). Quantum AI and machine learning will be a focus at the UofA QHA node, and we foresee QHA researchers in quantum AI engaging with their counterparts in the corporate sector,” elaborates Maciejko. “An inspiring venture is the Quantum Intelligence Lab from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. This could serve as a model for what we might foresee emerging from QHA, which, like the Perimeter Institute, will primarily pursue theoretical research.”
The potential global impact of QHA’s research is immense. “The fundamental science of today becomes the applied science of tomorrow. While it’s challenging to predict the exact trajectory of a major breakthrough, QHA researchers are working on areas with the potential for significant paradigm shifts,” Maciejko elaborated. From studying quantum materials that could lead to new hardware platforms for quantum computers to exploring quantum particle entanglement for secure data encryption, the possibilities are vast.
With the backing of visionary donors and the collaboration of Alberta’s major research universities, Quantum Horizons Alberta is set to elevate the province’s quantum research and innovation capacity. As the world stands on the brink of a quantum revolution, initiatives like QHA ensure that Alberta takes position at the forefront, ready to harness the transformative potential of quantum science.
To learn more about Quantum Horizons Alberta and their pioneering efforts in the quantum realm, visit quantumhorizonsab.ca.
Sohail Kamal is EP&T’s West Coast Correspondent.