Transformative Quantum Technologies and the Quantum Innovation Cycle

Interviewee: Tracey Forrest
Director of the Transformative Quantum Technologies program at the University of Waterloo
Interviewer: Tina Dekker
Articling Student at BLG




[Tina] Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us here on dead cat live cat for this interview with Tracy Forrest. Dead cat live cat is an online quantum computing magazine founded by law firms Blg: in Canada, Marks and clerk in Uk, Schindlers in South Africa and Zuber Lawler in the US. We’re attorneys, but we’re also scientists, engineers, and futurists focused on the likelihood that quantum computing, coupled with AI, are going to fundamentally change our world within 2 decades. My name is Tina Decker. I’m. A student at law at Borden Ladner Gervais, which is a Canadian law firm with offices across Canada. I’m. A part of the intellectual property group at BLG’s office, located in Ottawa. Today we have Tracy Forest here to tell us what it takes to innovate in the quantum field and commercialize quantum technologies. Tracy is the director for the transformative quantum technologies program known as TQT, located in Waterloo Ontario. Tracy recently coordinated the quantum for Health design challenge in Waterloo, and she is also an executive board member of the Q for Climate initiative. Now on a personal note. I actually met Tracy about 5 years ago, when I was a graduate student at the Institute for quantum computing, and I was supported by the TQT program. Tracy was the first person to introduce me to patent agents and lawyers, as I pivoted my career into intellectual property law. So i’m very pleased to have the opportunity to welcome Tracy here for a discussion about quantum technologies. Thank you for joining us.

[Tracey] Oh, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here, Tina, and and great to connect with you again.

[Tina] So to start, can you tell us about TQT. And its mission to deliver on the quantum promise?

[Tracey] Sure, yeah. The the transformative quantum technologies program, or TQT at the University of Waterloo aims to take quantum mechanics from a laboratory curiosity to an impactful device. So TQT builds upon the strengths of the the Institute for quantum computing and brings together quantum researchers across campus and beyond to accelerate quantum research and commercialization. Professor David Corey is the visionary behind the program, and serves as the principal investigator and I serve as the director, and together we form the leadership of TQT. A large part of my role is focused on knowledge mobilization. So increasing our researchers capacity to take their novel innovations and connect them to early doctors that need them. And we’re broadly to build viable pathways, to realize commercial and societal benefits. And just to share a few stats on the program. At present there about 70 projects underway, generating significant scientific outcomes and impact in many fields. 2 large simulator projects represent a key investment area for TQT arrays of trapped ions and a raise of Rydberg atoms. The program is attracted for new faculty and a research associate to the University of Waterloo, and they are leading much of these simulation efforts and recruitment efforts are underway to fill 2 more faculty slots. Overall TQT has supported close to 500 researchers and 50 faculty in developing and delivering quantum technologies. So anyone who has a need for quantum can come here to connect with this community and access a full suite of open access, tools and resources.

[Tina] Wow! That’s amazing. So what types of quantum programs and initiatives do you lead or participate in through? TQT.

[Tracey] Yeah, I’m. Involved in several quantum initiatives. one involves quantum for health, which is a rapidly emerging field with innovation Stories coming into the lab today, and where TQT is placed recent emphasis in the form of a quantum for health design challenge. This is an initiative open to all members of the University Waterloo, to meet exciting new quantum technologies with pressing needs and health and outcomes. We include more accessible health care technology enabling personalized medicine and high performance diagnostics, such as wearable sensors and medical imaging. There are also opportunities in structural biology, quantum simulation, computation, and communication. The focus is to bring forth ideas that expand the potential reach of quantum technologies, so that everyone everywhere can attain the highest level of health. And and outside of TQT a a separate initiative. I help lead as quantum for climate, which gathers the research and industry communities together around quantum and climate sciences, 150, with the image developing new insight into how we may reduce the pace and impact of climate change. So very, very important pressing challenge that we’re looking to bring the quantum community around And you know the the project focuses on identifying new opportunities for research and on the development of quantum approaches to problems and climate sciences. I should mention, the group is run. It’s a volunteer run entity, and it and it’s run by individuals from various organizations, such as Intel, NASA, Zapata, Institute quontique at Sherbrooke, and other academic institutions, and and we’ve developed a preliminary assessment of where one might look to apply quantum technologies in addressing climate change, and continue to organize international workshops in this arena one and to briefly mention I also serve on the Executive Committee of the Quantum Co-laboratory, which is a a unique research and development environment that spans 3 nodes in Canada. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity to to expand in quantum co-lab later in our in our conversation, perhaps, as we discuss quantum innovation pathways.

[Tina] that’s wonderful. So you talked a little bit about using quantum for climate change, but more generally, why should industry care about quantum? What’s going to change with a quantum solution?

[Tracey] Oh, great thanks for asking me Tina. Quantum offers a new paradigm for the development of technology. So with where there’s an opportunity to apply extraordinary levels of efficiency, security and precision quantum will play a transformational role. Quantum mechanics enables efficiencies and correlations that aren’t possible in the classical role. So if quantum technology we can achieve orders of magnitude, improvements and sensitivity selectivity or resource efficiency, we can communicate more securely, enable more efficient sensing. and provide a new model for computation through quantum correlations. So the power of quantum allows for dramatic step function transformation. and it has the potential to profoundly impact significant applications in areas such as medical technologies, ICT, navigation, energy, defense, sensing and many more areas. it’s significant competitive advantage of weights for those industries that choose to explore and exploit the power of quantum.

[Tina] So there are a lot of different applications that we’re seeing for quantum technologies you mentioned sensing, among other things, it’s not just quantum computing, and from your experience at TQT, and through these different initiatives and programs that you’ve had a chance to work with. You really had an opportunity to see these proposed use cases for quantum technologies and quantum computing. So in which areas do you think that quantum technologies will have the most positive impact?

[Tracey] Well, the discovery process has just begun. So quantum allows us to solve problems and create products. So it would otherwise be impossible. So it will broadly impact to every industry and sector. If we take a high level view of the opportunity landscape, we would see, for example, quantum enables, manufacturing measurements and materials, discovery and development. I it in emails, enhanced scientific tools and techniques for research and education. It enables broad applications and health spanning personalized medicine, high performance diagnostics and imaging to structural biology quantum enables accurate timestamping which could be useful in finance. And of course it is profound impact in the ICT sector bringing new models for computation, enabling secure communications, allowing us to simulate real physical systems and and vastly improving the efficiency of conventional electronics in defense and mobility quantum brings the ability for covert detection of still targets and and navigation and positioning tools for jps denied environments and an energy quantum enables losses, power, transmission, and high efficiency energy conversion. And finally, if we look at the areas of environmental monitoring quantum provides highly sensitive and selective chemical sensing, wireless tools and remote sensors. But to to get back to your question on where quantum will have the most positive impact. You’ll have to look at least initially where there is no solution today, and we’re having a solution would be highly valued 150. So we find many of these use cases based on quantum sensing in health and in defense. So if we were to take a look just I quantum for health. I mentioned this earlier. We’re running a competition in this area. This is a rapidly emerging field with a surprising range of activities. There are groups all around the world advancing quantum solutions around health, and if you look at just a set of activities based out of the University of Waterloo and supported by TQT. You would see Co. Handles development of a quantum enabled Sars Co. To censor You’d see Kelly Numerthy of these Molecular dynamics. Exploration of a. As Sars Co. 2 Meta Genesis and Cushions Exploration of human Discrimination of Barry phases. and staying on this theme of quantum for health, supported by TQT. You will note the documents, work in magnetic resonance for M. Scros microscopy or or Cory’s demonstration of the advantage as possible through engineering coherent cavity, interruptions, and spin measurements. These advances are enabling of new, more precise and sensitive characterization methods for structural biology, for example. We’d also see this as optical coherence tomography system for in vivo non invasive, imaging the eye. And in collaboration with Professor Rhymer. They are developing a novel infrared camera based in quantum sensors, and the applications here include early diagnostics and monitoring of potentially blinding diseases. And finally to note there’s been a new set of optics experiments conducted in collaboration with the school of Optometry that has resulted in the discovery of a novel optical state that directly mimics the structure of a healthy macula, and this discovery is being used to develop potential quantum sensor for early macular degeneration. With trials underway in two clinics and paving the way for earlier and more accurate diagnostics. And so you can see a wide-away array of positive, impactful use cases emerging from the lab. And we’ve just been talking about health. There are also projects already that are in the lab and position for commercial impact. You can take, for example, the the superconducting detectors for structural biology with the startup HighQ You can look at the high efficiency single photon detectors with they start up single quantum systems. And more recently, electronic sensors for detecting pathogens in human or environmental samples with the a startup called biograph sense. And if you were just to to zoom out of Waterloo and project into the distant future quantum technologies will find positive impact where they enable us to advance far enough that high temperature superconductors are a reality, so that we no longer have to live with electricity, grid transmission, and distribution losses. And they allow us to advance far enough that the efficiency of solar power conversion is twice that that it is today. And where they replace the movement in charge with movement of spin, resulting in a substantial drop in the energy cost of computation through developments and spinronics, and this would yield a step function change, meaning that your battery would last 600 times longer, or you’d be able to compute 600 times faster. So quantum really does touch every sector and can be truly transformative.

[Tina] Yeah, that’s really interesting. Even just as you’re saying within the health sector there’s so many different applications of quantum sensors and ways we can apply these technologies, and I think you know, there’s a lot of focus on quantum computing, but there’s there’s a lot to be had from all quantum technologies, and it’s really exciting to hear about these initiatives. That said, I imagine there’s some difficulty in trying to establish all of these technologies. So could you tell us a bit about what some of the greatest barriers are to realizing these applications and use cases.

[Tracey] sure. Yeah. So you know, the biggest barrier really is that classical technologies are quite good. They set the bar really high. There needs to be a a genuine need for a quantum solution that justifies the extra expense and complexity. And typically this opportunity presents itself where there there is no solution today, and and the solution would address an important problem. So you know the type of problems that a company might go out of business if they they can’t find the solution. And these types of problems can be difficult to uncover, because it requires that you speak with someone who is deeply knowledgeable of their field, and you can point to opportunities where there are no solutions today. So they they’ve done their homework. They’ve done a global scan, and also that they are capable to partner in the development of the technology. Also quantumolo perform classical technology when it reaches a sufficient level of complexity and precision. And we still need more complexity, more precision, so that the differential between classical and quantum is big enough to justify the solution. And the differential typically comes with the price tag, and this needs to be appropriate for the application. And you’ll also find barriers connected to the specific areas of positive impact that the quantum technology is targeting. So take, for example, the environment. Climate change is a pressing global challenge. But is there a large enough market today to bring sophisticated solutions for methane monitoring or remote sensing of organic carbon and soils, or other measurements of significance for earth monitoring many of the tasks people are imagining today, for environment are not amenable for such an expensive solution. And this drives you to health and defense and many quantum systems rely here on cryogenics, and which some would say is limiting in terms of portability and affordability. But even if chryogenics is not deemed an issue for a particular application. There are physical platforms, albeit nason, that do not require Milli Kelvin temperatures, such as nitrogen, vacancy, centers, and diamond or semiconductor quantum optical systems. So the good news is that there is a viable pathway today for these sectors.

[Tina] That’s really good to hear it. I was particularly interested by the example that you mentioned earlier about the batteries, and you know having that step function improvement. You mentioned earlier in your response about doing this environmental scan and sort of talking with other people to understand and find these problems that have no solution. So that sounds like there’s going to need to be a lot of, a lot more collaboration between fields that maybe Don’t necessarily collaborate very often, historically. And so what do you think is necessary to see this greater collaboration between different fields, and also between even like different quantum companies. To achieve these goals like addressing climate change. and solving these these very complex problems.

[Tracey] Yeah, that’s an important question. And you know, just a minor. Not really. Just say that we refer to quantum companies, it’s not always a quantum company that’s offering a a a quantum solution. in fact. For many of them quantum is ancillary into their core business or part of their skunk works. Division, especially when we think of multinationals or conglomerates. What’s interesting about these times is that the spectrum of large industry to university spin is to academic research groups they are all pushing the frontier of quantum R&D at the same time. And one avenue for a greater collaboration is for the community to converge on a set of promising use Cases in climate or another high impact field where they can decide to cooperate or collaborate around the pre-commercial aspects in order to drive the development of a new market, or perhaps steer an existing market. We see this in the energy, environment, sustainability, space, where the successful launch of an environmental feature requires all companies to be on board and so that it it forces the customer to move in a targeted direction, and you could look at the movement taken by large companies towards less packaging through concentrated detergent, for example, 150 the quantum call up this connected resource across Canada that provides access to the full suite of tools necessary to advance upon the quantum innovation cycle is one way to build connections across the community, and may serve to drive these types of collaborations. Another approach, that drives collaboration is taken from the startup world, where you seek incubators helping you. Ventures connect with one another through co-working spaces, peer networking, and access to shared resources such as lobs and admin support quantum companies that call us around an incubator, approach. They might find it more natural to collaborate. And I guess along similar lines, companies that are open to learning and expanding meaningful engagement with stakeholders, and we find it easier to collaborate around complex and thorny problems, such as climate change.

[Tina] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense so shifting gears a little bit more to the topic of innovation. How would you say that TQT innovates in the quantum world?

[Tracey] Well, quantum is new. It’s. It’s not intuitive, and it demands new approaches to device development and including specialized tools and processes and advancing our understanding and control of quantum technologies requires a new innovation cycle that brings quantum engineering to materials, growth into device physics. So in light of this, TQT. Has created a unique quantum innovation cycle to drive development towards impactful applications. This quantum innovation Cycle is a continuous cycle of discovery and development, which includes quantum materials, growth, materials, characterization, device, fabrication, integration, device, testing and applications, and this cycle leads to improved materials, new devices, and new computers. As you may appreciate giving your background. Quantum devices must be built from quantum materials, and these materials must be free of observers that would collapse the quantum state to a classical reality, so they need to be clean, and they need to support quantum coherence. And for this we need ultra-lean special purpose instruments that allow us to control the effects and structure. Once we have a grown a quantum material, we need to characterization tools that enable us to probe the quality of the materials and optimize growth conditions, and the tools themselves must be quantum systems. Next in the cycle. We need to be able to fabricate quantum devices in such a way that we can precisely place Nano scale objects on microscope services, so that the noise and that the noise and the classical control elements do not destroy the quantum nature of the materials. and once you fabricated a quantum device, we need specialized environments for testing, so that environmental noise does not destroy the fragile quantum state. And this can can include operations that are very low temperatures, extremely low temperatures. Extremely small or large magnetic fields, and extremely low vibrations. Finally by getting devices into the hands of users, learning from their experience and integrating that knowledge into the quantum innovation cycle, we can accelerate the path to quantum innovation and quantum simulation is an example application. It starts to close the cycle through physics simulations that help us gain new insight into quantum effects and the design of new materials. The quantum innovation cycle might also begin with the quantum simulation problem, and that’s difficult for classical computer to solve. So, for example, problems ranging from quantum materials to quantum chrinidynamics. just in the last few years, we’ve taken this quantum innovation cycle, and we made it available to all quantum researchers in Canada and beyond, through the Quantum Co laboratory which you’ve heard me refer to a few times already. The quantum co-OP combines the resources at the University of Waterloo, with 2 other large c4 of government funded programs. that’s at the University of Sherbrooke and British Columbia through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. And this unique shared resource for developing prototyping and early commercialization of quantum solutions already has close to 500 users across Canada. includes a large portion from industry representing 35 or so companies. and it’s already attracting industry to Canada. It supports the development of new Canadian quantum tech, and startups. Its mission is to support the broad quantum community in reaching the precision, complexity, and control necessary to realize the quantum promise. And as I mentioned, there’s 3 nodes across Canada, and so these distributed locations across Canada providing ease of access to the shared infrastructure. we also provide to the co-lab streamlined training and the benefit of an expert team of specialized technical staff with an easy reach. So the the integrated capabilities uniquely enable a new set of projects and technology development outcomes that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. And because we’ve developed a curated quantum space for innovators to work in. Users do not need to bring a deep quantum expertise to engage. It’s really important to appreciate that innovating and quantum requires different everything different materials, different manufacturing, different connectivity and in control. Just, for example, and the quantum co-lab is developed with this in mind to provide the user with resources that can be picked up, put down the ability to navigate a complex quantum space without having to buy the tools where they don’t need or necessarily want to invest. So TQT is not alone on this path to quantum innovation it’s part of the Quantum Valley, which is a realization of Mike Lazarus’ vision to develop a complete quantum science, innovation, and enterprise community. and I should also mention TQT maintains a close collaboration with the neutron lab at NIST, and this this is a unique engagement that allows our researchers to develop new capabilities for the neutron beam lines there. and a similar arrangement is in place with the center for eye and vision research in Hong Kong, where quantum I projects can be explored in a clinical setting one. Finally, I should also mention that we support innovation and spin out from the TQT program. We connect researchers with patent attorneys and support the provisional filings. We look to increase Ipc IP literacy broadly. and also we serve as a first early customer where there is a scientific or our educational need. So a lot of facets to to what we do here in quantum on our path to quantum innovation.

[Tina] Yeah, that’s really amazing that you’ve over the years that TQT and the University of Waterloo and these other hubs have really developed this ecosystem to support researchers. and that brings me to my next question, which is about talent. So we know that talent is a an important issue for the growth of the quantum market. And I mean you have all of these nice facilities. How do you draw researchers in, and what sort of strategies do you think are necessary to bring talent into the quantum field more generally to support innovation?

[Tracey] Yeah, So at TQT we’re investing not only in it celebrating quantum technologies, but also in attracting the the people, the talent that share in in the vision of a collaborative, diverse community that connects across that the innovation cycle they just spoke to. and this is to develop improve quantum materials, devices, and world-changing applications so we do need to find and recruit and retain essential, knowledgeable technical stuff that have capabilities in materials, growth, characterization, device fabrication and device testing. So to do this, we’ve reached out across the globe through programs that target, equity and diversity and participation. And as a result, we’ve attracted incredible talent to the University of Waterloo, from researchers to engineers, to innovators. Each bring new ideas and contribute to to highly diverse teams. At TQT. These global outreach programs include quantum innovators, which is a a one week program, and we have 2 of these, one in science and engineering one, also in computer science, and that and they’re aimed at post stocks. And we also have an undergraduate school and experimental quantum information processing which obviously targets undergrads and takes place in the summertime. We also track master students through the the new masters degree in quantum technology which supports the development of quantum workers who are knowledgeable in quantum physics and engineering. And the program benefits from we just recently commissioned this quantum exploration space that houses, quantum systems. and where the students can develop insights and experience. And the cornerstone of the program is a series of 3 lab experiences where they learn coherent quantum control, quantum photonics, and the use in manufacture of solid state quantum devices. So this quantum exploration space. It’s professionally staffed with the PhD scientist and the spaces used for a variety of uses. So outreach workshops and training activities. The facilities are state of the yard. So this is great for students. They get to an experience an environment they wouldn’t normally get unless they were in a research lab, and you know they allows them to leave with the breadth of a rich experiences. Finally, we also engage research associates and technical staff and pursuing focused milestone-driven technology development projects and these target earlier adoptors they target customers. And there certainly is an emphasis on strategic. IP: It’s also worth noting the sizeable imprint that the outreach and training offered by the Institute for quantum computing at at Waterloo had around the world. So, for example. there by estimates, I believe, around 7,000 quantum experts worldwide. and, roughly, 1,600 of those individuals have received some form of training at IQC.

[Tina] Well, those I didn’t know those numbers. That’s a really interesting. To hear. and so you’ve talked about like bringing in some, you know, combining engineers and physics and bringing them together into this workspace to learn, and we touch on this a bit earlier. But maybe we can expand on it a bit more about the role of interdisciplinary collaboration in the quantum innovation process. And how important these interdisciplinary collaborations are to realizing the full potential of quantum technologies.

[Tracey] Yeah, so so transformative quantum technology the program. it’s grand challenge outcomes for cent around computation, communication and sensing. These are being led by interdisciplinary teams. and you know. Through these team efforts they’re providing researchers with important new tools for quantum information, science and and putting impactful new devices in the hands of early adopters, and you heard me talk about the collaboration of the school of optometry. that’s bringing you quantum tools for the diagnosis of mocular generation. You know that that’s really thanks to an interdisciplinary type of collaboration. Another example that illustrates the importance of this form of collaboration is the open access quantum simulator. That Professors Crystal center in audible is lumber building. so they’re simulators based on traped ions and trapdines. Are one of the most advanced technologies for quantum computing, it offers multi cubic control in a universal quantum competing architecture, and in the ability to form calculations with unprecedented precision. Crystal and rogable, are constructing a shared trapped on quantum computing platform. It’s called quantum ion, and it’ll enable the broad and interdisciplinary scientific community to access an advanced quantum computing platform. The goal is to accelerate the discovery of new methods and applications of quantum computing. So the quantum ion will make trapped ion hardware, more automated. It’ll make it more accessible to users, and it’ll open up a range of new experiments. and in building the quantum simulator there are a lot of problems that need to be solved requiring specialized expertise across the span of disciplines. You will hear them talk about the need for vacuum, engineering and engineering of optical laser systems to control information processing. Once you have a set of quantum hardware, then there’s the need to interface with classical instrumentation and control methods, and one needs systems designed to ensure that the entire stock of electronic and computer infrastructure is operating as intended. Crystal and module are atomic physicists and need to connect with electrical computer engineers, mechanical engineers, systems engineers, in order to realize their quantum simulator. and as the field becomes more mature and technical challenge is more specialized. It becomes even more important to work within an into this interdisciplinary environment, to allow for for deep expertise within a research group well benefiting from connections that exist across groups.

[Tina] So Thank you. Tracey, for sharing a little bit about the the quantum ion project. That sounds really interesting, and i’m looking forward to hearing more about that as the projects develop around that moving on to the topic about commercializing quantum innovations from your experience at Tqt. What advice would you give someone who wants to commercialize their quantum technology and enter the quantum market?

[Tracey] Yeah, I think the advice would be similar to that given to other hard tech firms looking to to launch. You know you’ll have to do your homework to determine. If there’s an appropriately a size market and a willing customer base for the technology you intend to develop. You’ll want to use shared resources to prove out a new technology and develop early ideas through to commercial deployment. And once there’s a focused technology path and value proposition, then you’ll want to build narrowly for that. it’s a good idea to connect with with others outside your areas area of expertise, and you’ll want to invest in professional training in areas such as intellectual property, strategy, leadership, equity, diversity, basically all the areas that are essential for commercial success. And An important consideration is how to be strategic and accessing funding resources. You’re going to want to start with non diluted sources where possible and in staff funding is needed. One. and having a carefully crafted vision that you can convey with conviction, is important. It should be powerful and free of hype to attract customers and funders alike and and Finally, you’ll want to partner with those that can appreciate the timeline and cost involved in the quantum development cycle.

[Tina] Okay, that’s really good advice. Thank you. Staying on the same theme of commercialization. Obviously the quantum valley that you mentioned supports commercialization and startups and spin out from the content community in Waterloo, Can you tell us a little more about the quantum valley, and how it provides us some more support in the commercialization of quantum technologies.

[Tracey] Yeah, the quantum valley is an extensive scientific technical ecosystem in Waterloo, Ontario. It’s built around the University of Waterloo. And together with the Institute for quantum computing TQT is a central part of this ecosystem. This ecosystem brings together researchers brings together entrepreneurs startup companies and venture capital to accelerate the delivery of quantum technologies and the connections made here between organizations stop and through shared infrastructure really enable us to explore and deliver quantum technology. This thriving environment arises from a 25 year effort, led by blackberry visionaries mike lazaritis and Doug fragen and the research expertise and resources of the quantum valley ranges from the foundational quantum investigations at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, which is a leading center for scientific research training and educational outreach and foundational theoretical physics to multidisciplinary research in the field of quantum information and technology development. you’ve heard me refer to the Institute for quantum computing at the University of Waterloo. The ecosystem also includes the quantum nanophob, and in characterization facility. This brings a unique quantum tool side and a highly specialized staffing staff team and and this connects us to the quantum column which I mentioned earlier. There’s also the quantum Valley ideas lab and not for profit development technology development lab that bridges the gap between academic labs and industry to accelerate research and development. promising quantum technologies as the basis for new products and businesses. There’s also the Quantum Valley investments that’s a a private fund established by Mike Lazarus and Doug Pragan in 2013, with 100 million investment to capitalize commercial big through and in quantum information. So it’s emerging from this ecosystem. and we need all of these elements to successfully innovate in quantum. We need a large, well-integrated, collaborative effort fueled by these deep connections with industry and early adopters access to the world, leading tools and a diverse community. And you find this in the quantum valley TQT. Works closely with the quantum valley organizations and broad quant quantum startup activities in Waterloo. and you also note that some of these lab activities are co-located. So you you might see the the quantum Valley ideas lab some of its infrastructure co-located with transformative quantum technologies and this enables efficiencies in developing the infrastructure and technical stopping also of course knowledge transfer it’s important to recognize that quantum Valley does not sit alone. It sits within the larger Canadian ecosystem. and in Canada you see that the Universities and Government got on board early in quantum, and have been consistent in their support. There are deep quantum strengths across the country. Quantum is a recognized priority, and continues to be funded as a priority. You see evidence this in the national quantum strategy which is about to be rolled up. and if you know, 5 to 10 years ago. If we look at the 3 quantum seafood programs that includes TQT, which which are the large government quantum research programs funded here to the tune about 176 million dollars. They are all focused around technology and stay the focus is finding applications. Maybe this is a good Segue to to mention the role of venture capital, right venture. Capital plays an important role in fueling commercialization of quantum technologies. VCs bring an awareness of the valuable use cases, and they also serve as technology scouts. And we’re seeing increasing BC. Interest in Canada and early stage quantum technologies. Canada is a strong tech sphere which has enabled quantum to expand rapidly, so that helps shorten times to innovation. And why is it important to make these resources available to quantum researchers as part of the commercialization process. Well. quantum technology is rapidly developing and changing. Industry does not have access to all of the quantum innovation cycle in house. So an open environment, such as the quantum co-lab it provides a place to explore perfect and apply new ideas. It even enables early commercialization. So once commercial potential is proven, then industry is this position to take innovations in house and to continue the commercialization process. I mean, without the access to the quantum collab resources. The commercialization process would certainly, you know, be much more expensive. It would be longer and perhaps never be activated.

[Tina] Okay. that’s a lot. it seems like there’s a lot going on there. So can you give us an example of a success story that has come out of TQT in the quantum valley and the support the support system that exists.

[Tracey] Yeah, you’ve already heard about important scientific advances connected to to quantum innovation for health. particular t quantum simulation is a key pillar. So let let me share more about that story. This includes the development of open access shared simulation platforms. It also includes the development of new methods for efficient simulation and mining for applications that are uniquely enabled through quantum exploration. So TQT researchers have advanced in all these fronts the groups of Sanko, Islam, Gooper, Roy have developed quantum simulation platforms based on trapped ions and red bird atoms, and today these platforms are enabling new methods development. and by the end of the year they will begin to function as programmable quantum simulators. The groups of Wilson and Corey have developed special purpose. Simulators to explore multi-body effects. In central spin dynamics, spin cavity systems and parametric cavities. And Nyan kim’s group is developing a solid state quantum simulator platform based on external polarrons, which are hybrid light matter, quantum quasi particles. So these efforts are essential in closing the quantum innovation cycle and delivering new insights into materials. But we don’t have to wait for a quantum simulator to see commercial success related research that has directly led to new innovation includes the world leading methods to benchmark, quantum protocols, and the formation of quantum benchmark. A venture back to startup that was acquired by key site the tools they provide improve quantum hardware performance, and help to overcome errors and improve the quality of qubits. Not just the number of qubits.

[Tina] Well, that’s great. It sounds like there’s a lot going on so. looking at the time, I think we’ll end here, and i’d like to thank you for your time for joining us here on dead cat live cat. So just before we sign off usually the interviews end on a bit of a light or no with a lighter question, something like, what’s your favorite movie? I’d like to take a different angle and ask which quantum type statement. Would you like to see disappear from headlines?

[Tracey] Hmm. Well, while there are many specular proposed applications of quantum technology. Big data comes to mind a more powerful question might be, where quantum technology applications that are ahead of the hype? And here we might point to the broad importance of quantum simulation or addressing societal problems to quantum materials. or the wide applications of quantum sensing. There are a few places we know. Quantum will profoundly app impact and and just because they don’t make the headlines does not mean they’re not worthy of our attention.

[Tina] Very true. That’s a good way of answering the question. Well, thank you very much. Thank you for your time. It was a pleasure to have you, and we’ll look forward to hearing more about the different projects that are coming out of TQT and the quantum valley.

[Tracey] Oh, thank you Tina. Thank you, BLG and Zuber Lawler for organizing this webinar, and for engaging me in this conversation. I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun, Thank you.

Tracey Forrest - Guest

Director of the Transformative Quantum Technologies program at the University of Waterloo

Tracey Forrest is the Director of the Transformative Quantum Technologies program at the University of Waterloo and a board member of Q4Climate. She serves as an Executive Committee member of the Quantum Colaboratory, a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund Council and is the former chair of the NANO Research Centre Advisory Board of the National Research Council of Canada. Tracey is a professional engineer with domain expertise across energy/sustainability, quantum and innovation.

Tina Dekker - Host

Articling Student at BLG

Tina is an articling student who is assisting the Intellectual Property group at BLG’s Ottawa office for matters related to patents, trademarks, and copyright. Tina graduated from the University of Waterloo with an honours degree in Nanotechnology Engineering and specialized in nanoelectronics, semiconductors, and microfabrication. She continued her studies as a masters student with the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. Her work included fabricating quantum devices to examine the optical and electronic properties of exotic two-dimensional materials. Tina completed her JD at the University of Ottawa, where she researched, published, and presented on the legal and ethical implications of quantum technologies as a research fellow with the Centre for Law, Technology and Society.

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