World-changing tech doesn’t come around too often. But I’m sensing the winds of change stirring around the next, next world-changing tech revolution and it’s in the Windy City. No, I don’t mean AI (that’s today’s “next revolution” ). I’m talking about quantum computing, the “next, next revolution”. And it’s Chicago that is already leading the quantum race and is poised to leave everyone else behind.

Chicago - Wikipedia

The journey of groundbreaking tech is typically the overnight success many decades in the making. Take quantum theory, for instance. Birthed in 1900 by Nobel laureate Max Planck, it took almost half a century, the collective genius of Robert Oppenhimer, along with hundreds of physicists, and billions of dollars invested to manifest into its first significant application – the atomic bomb in 1945 – which pioneered the way for innovations in energy, medicine and shift in the understanding of the universe. That’s 45 years of intense research and staggering amounts invested before any application was developed.

Fast forward to 1980. Paul Benioff unveiled what might eclipse all prior advancements: quantum computing. In layman’s terms? If traditional computers are checkers, quantum computers are 4D chess, with computational capacity that can seem almost otherworldly.

Now, 43 years post-Benioff, the quantum epicenter is in Illinois. The University of Chicago hasn’t merely entered the quantum arena; they’ve constructed it. A decade ago, a whopping $300M went into crafting a leading quantum-engineering program, setting the pace. Not to be outdone, the rest of Illinois built additional quantum research centers, which means Illinois proudly hosts 4 of the nation’s 10 National Quantum Research Centers in the country and attracts nearly half of all federal funding for quantum research.

Chicago Quantum Exchange announces seven new partnerships to advance  research, training | University of Chicago News

Private companies are entering the area as well. In May, Google entered into a massive partnership with both the University of Tokyo and the University of Chicago to the tune of $100M. While Google’s investment is impressive, IBM is leading the quantum charge with its own Discovery Accelerator Institute in partnership with the University of Illinois and $200M in funding.

While quantum’s immediate applications might still reside in academia’s ivory towers, the potential is vast. Envision smarter AI, accelerated drug discoveries, and countless other revolutions.

Tech hubs don’t merely emerge; they’re constructed by the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Illinois is currently that crucible of brilliance. The race is on and the world will see if it is Chicago that becomes the birthplace of the quantum era.

Inside this issue

  • The future of Quantum Computing isn’t in Silicon Valley​
  • A quantum computing partnership
  • Illinois: The Nation’s Quantum Technology Hub​
  • A brief history of quantum computing
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