Australia is on the road to developing quantum computing hardware by 2022 with the launch of Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd, which has been launched to develop and commercialise UNSW's quantum computer technology.
The NSW government has allocated $8.7 million from its Quantum Computing Fund for the new company, along with $25 million over five years from the Commonwealth government through its National Innovation and Science Agenda.
Private investors in the project include CBA ($14 million) and Telstra ($10 million over two years), along with UNSW and its quantum computing researchers making $25 million in earlier investments.
CBA unveiled its quantum computer simulator earlier this year, which is being used to develop software for future quantum computers.
The development of a 10-qubit quantum integrated circuit would be the forerunner to a silicon-based quantum computer, which would potentially be exponentially faster than current computers.
Board members of Silicon Quantum Computing include UNSW professor of physics Michelle Simmons, Telstra chief scientist Hugh Bradlow, CBA chief information officer David Whiteing and secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Glenys Beauchamp.
Corporate lawyer and company director Stephen Menzies will chair the board initially, and described the public-private venture as an "important pilot scheme to develop a new pathway for commercialising leading Australian research".
"It will maintain vital IP in Australia and develop a nascent quantum information ecosystem here in NSW," he said – describing the international push to build the first practical quantum computer as the "space race of the 21st century".
Professor Simmons said, "It’s an exciting time to invest in this new industry that will shape the 21st century. With Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd now incorporated we are fully committed to developing a 10-qubit silicon prototype. We are open for business and open to further investment from interested partners.
"The public-private venture establishing Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd seeks to develop a quantum information ecosystem here in Australia. It will involve leading scientists and engineers at UNSW and the University of Melbourne, which together with other institutions that are part of CQC2T [Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology] will develop a scalable, error corrected quantum computer in silicon.”