Dr Cathy Foley welcomes quantum announcement

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, has welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment to a National Quantum Strategy and the establishment of a Quantum Commercialisation Hub.

Dr Foley is a strong advocate of quantum technologies and says she is enormously pleased to have been asked to support these initiatives to ensure Australia gets the most impact from its quantum expertise.

“I am particularly energised by the sector, both because of my own scientific background and because it is an enabling technology that will bring breakthroughs across many fields,” Dr Foley said.

“I am thrilled to be Australia’s Chief Scientist at this time, to bring my experience in emerging technologies and research commercialisation to help grow Australia’s quantum industry.”

Australia has world-leading experts in quantum technologies already.

The national strategy will determine the opportunities, needs and barriers for development and adoption of quantum technologies.

The new Quantum Commercialisation Hub will help Australians build their companies and technologies in Australia, improving access to customers and investors here and overseas, and providing opportunities for partnerships.

Quantum computer

A quantum computer.

Quantum technologies exploit the ability of fundamental particles to be in multiple places at once, or in multiple states at once – phenomena that sit underneath the way all matter behaves.

The first quantum revolution was based on the invention of the transistor and laser; now we are entering the second quantum revolution as we begin to control materials at the nanoscale.

This will lead to the creation of sensors to detect what was previously undetectable, communications that are virtually unhackable, computers that are exponentially more powerful.

Advances in the field will enable breakthrough developments in secure communications, cybersecurity encryption, sensing and navigation, and computing. The new capabilities will impact many sectors of the economy, including medicine, space, materials science and defence.

An enormous international effort is underway to develop an error-corrected quantum computer that solve problems in minutes that are impossible for traditional computers.

Quantum simulation will use the massive parallel computing power of quantum computers to build and test new molecules in the virtual realm, simulating their behaviour and testing their interactions. This means new therapies and vaccines, new materials in the industrial field, and new catalysts, for example to split water to create hydrogen.

Quantum sensing will allow the ability to detect and map with extreme precision through barriers and at distances. This field is advancing quickly and is likely to mean ever more accurate mapping of underground phenomena, as well as objects under the oceans. It will also change our ability to map and understand the brain, the heart and other organs, and to detect and diagnose disease at minute scales.

In quantum encryption, entanglement has the potential for secure messages to be sent instantaneously.

Internationally, governments are investing billions of dollars in quantum technologies. Under the AUKUS alliance, Australia, the United States and Britain have agreed to work together on quantum.

Dr Foley said the National Quantum Strategy and the Quantum Commercialisation Hub would provide the coordinated effort necessary to realise impact from this complex set of transformative technologies. 

Last updated: Tuesday, 23 November 2021