University of Arizona Awarded $26M to Architect the Quantum Internet

August 5, 2020

Aug. 5, 2020 — The University of Arizona will receive an initial, five-year, $26 million grant from the National Science Foundation, with an additional five-year $24.6 million option, to establish and lead a new National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center – called the Center for Quantum Networks – with core partners Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University.

Laying the Foundations of the Future Quantum Internet

Image of an optical communication chip.Jacob Chinn/University of Arizona Alumni Association

CQN aims to lay the foundations of the quantum internet, which will revolutionize how humankind computes, communicates and senses the world, by creating a fabric to connect quantum computers, data centers and gadgets using their native quantum information states of “quantum bits,” or qubits. Qubits offer dramatic increases in processing capacity by not just having the 0 or 1 state of the classical bit, but also allowing what is termed a “superposition” of both states at the same time.

“The University of Arizona has been fortunate to attract key talent in quantum optics, materials and information sciences,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “It is rewarding to see our deep culture of collaboration across campus naturally position us to lead this extremely ambitious project in partnership with amazing institutions across the nation.”

In February, the White House National Quantum Coordination Office underscored the importance of the field by issuing “A Strategic Vision for America’s Quantum Networks.” The document stated, “By leading the way in quantum networking, America is poised to revolutionize national and financial security, patient privacy, drug discovery, and the design and manufacturing of new materials, while increasing our scientific understanding of the universe.”

Transformative Technology

“The transformation of today’s internet through quantum technology will spur entirely new tech industries and create an innovation ecosystem of quantum devices and components, service

providers and applications. The potential impact of CQN is so immense, it is almost incalculable,” notes Saikat Guha, CQN director and principal investigator and associate professor of optical sciences. “What we are proposing to do with CQN is analogous to the critical role played by the ARPANET, the historical precursor to the internet. The pioneering scientists behind the ARPANET could not have possibly imagined the kind of computing, communications and mobile networking capabilities their discoveries would inspire and enable, and CQN aspires to follow in their footsteps to usher the world into the era of quantum networking.”

The team at the University of Arizona is led by the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences and includes the College of Engineering, the James E. Rogers College of Law and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

“In recent years, the university has focused heavily on quantum engineering, increasing the breadth and depth of our expertise by hiring – across several colleges – six additional faculty members specializing in quantum technologies,” said Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, University of Arizona senior vice president for research and innovation. “With the strength and innovative approaches of these researchers and our strong culture of industry partnerships to translate cutting-edge technologies to the market, CQN will make significant strides towards ushering in a new era of quantum networking at market scale.”

CQN also includes scientific and educational leaders at core partners Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University, in addition to those at Brigham Young University, Howard University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Oregon and the University of Chicago.

A major focus of the CQN team will be research to advance quantum materials and devices, quantum and classical processing required at a network node, and quantum network protocols and architectures. CQN also aims to demonstrate the first U.S.-based quantum network that can distribute quantum information at high speeds, over long distances, to multiple user groups.

“As one of the key goals of CQN, we will be creating a versatile Quantum Network Testbed and making it available as a national resource to validate system performance and boost innovation by the scientific and industrial communities alike,” said Zheshen Zhang, CQN Testbed co-lead and assistant professor of materials science and engineering.

For the full announcement and additional graphics, visit https://news.arizona.edu/story/university-arizona-awarded-26m-architect-quantum-internet


Source: University of Arizona 

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