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Quantum Days 2023: Targeting what soon may be possible

The many facets of quantum computing were on the agenda today during the kickoff of Quantum Days 2023, a virtual three-day conference in which topics will range from what organizers describe as “cutting-edge academic research in theory and experiment, to industry applications, societal impact, public policy and future careers.”

Shohini Ghose, conference chair and professor of physics and computer science at Wilfred Laurier University, reflected on all that has changed since the first Quantum Days was held in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

“It seems so long ago,” she said. “Many of us were dealing with isolation and challenges of working at home, but that’s what made it so special. It gave us the opportunity to virtually connect over 1,000 participants from all sectors of the quantum community, and from coast to coast and even beyond. And the momentum has kept building. And like the previous two years, this year, too, you will be able to meet a thousand of your fellow quantum enthusiasts. So welcome to everyone.”

Ghose urged delegates to attend sessions that “are really far outside of your expertise, where you have no idea what it is all about and I hope you get exited.

“Second, let us be engaged. As you may know, the National Quantum Strategy was announced on Friday. And this is a big moment for us here in Canada. And it’s going to impact not just the science and the research that we do, it’s going to be impacting human beings and society.

“How are we going to build this future quantum society responsibly and ethically? There’s a lot of sessions at this conference where you have opportunities for discussing this, and to have your voice heard as well.”

Backed by an investment of $360 million committed in Budget 2021, the strategy seeks to help Canada’s quantum technologies, companies, and talents grow.

Of that budget, $141 million will go towards basic and applied research, $45 million will be targeted at developing and retaining quantum talent, and $169 million will be used to enable the commercialization of quantum products.

François-Philippe Champagne, federal minister of innovation, science and industry, made the official announcement, and today, in a virtual address outlined the importance of both the strategy and quantum computing itself.

“Canada must seize the moment, and lead the way. Already, we’re doing impressive work in the science and research behind quantum,” he said. “But now is the time to take our spot on the forefront of the quantum revolution.

“That’s why last week, I was pleased to announce the launch of Canada’s national quantum strategy backed by an investment of $360 million. This strategy will amplify Canada’s existing strength in quantum research, grow quantum technologies, companies and talent, from batteries in EVs (electric vehicles), to electricity grids, to supply chains, or even how drugs and medicines are developed. The benefits of quantum technologies are infinite and so are the possibilities.”

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