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.
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.
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
Delving into history before the integrated circuit and after the second world war, the dean of Stanford University, Fred Terman was perhaps the single person most credited with giving Silicon valley the foundation the valley is now built upon. He also created the Stanford Industrial Park, where technology firms could work. Most of all he seeded an ecosystem that lives on…. Read more
Today, in support of the U.S. and Japanese governments’ joint commitment in quantum computing, we’re announcing a quantum computing partnership with the University of Chicago and the University of Tokyo, committing together up to $100 million over ten years…. Read More
Our many strengths as a region – from our tier-one universities; to our robust and diverse talent workforce; to our ground-breaking research institutions – have fueled our early and swift lead in the race to quantum leadership… Read More
The spark of quantum computing was struck by Richard Feynman. In 1981 at MIT, he presented the following quandary: classical computers cannot simulate the evolution of quantum systems in an efficient way. Thus, he proposed a basic model for a quantum computer that would be capable of such simulations… Read More