(PolicyOptions) Claude Guay, President and General Manager of IBM Canada, has authored the lengthy editorial discussing the success of Canada’s national quantum computing policy. IQT-News has summarized here.
To ensure Canada takes advantage of of quantum computing, government, industry and academic stakeholders must work hand-in-hand to do three things:
1) enable access to leading-edge quantum computing technology,
2) expand education and skills development,
3) foster deep collaboration focused on the most promising commercial industries.
Canada’s federal government announced in its 2021 budget a $360-million funding commitment to build a national quantum strategy. This is welcome news, as quantum computing holds the potential to solve the most difficult problems.
Canada’s National Research Council has cited forecasts developed by third-party economists, who project that by 2030 Canada will grow an $8.2-billion quantum technology industry, employing 16,000 people and generating $3.5 billion for the government. Estimations are that by 2040, quantum technology will reach 50 per cent, growing into a $142.4-billion industry with 229,000 jobs.
While IBM has been investing in quantum research for many years, in 2020 it established a quantum network hub at the Université de Sherbrooke, made possible by Quebec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation.
Sustaining Canada’s research and commercial leadership in quantum computing will require stakeholders to focus on six key actions over the next three to five years.
1) Canada must retain its existing talent, and it must immediately turn our efforts to attracting highly qualified personnel through academic training and incentives, and bring in new quantum-proficient technical professionals.
2) We must develop stronger expertise in hybrid classical and quantum computing systems.
3) Governments should do all they can to foster practical collaborations between leading private sector firms and academia, like the IBM Q Hub in Sherbrooke, to ensure sustainable academic and commercial ecosystems.
4) Canada’s leadership position in quantum technology can be strengthened by manufacturing even more advanced hardware and components, thereby securing important ingredients of the hybrid computing and quantum supply chain.
5) Hosting world-class quantum computers in secure facilities on Canadian soil will provide academic and government researchers and industry access to the technology, and assist quantum start-ups.
6) Canada needs a broad ecosystem of quantum enabling technology. Quantum software and algorithm development, middleware and specific industry applications that bring competitive advantage will thrive once the foundations of the quantum landscape are in place.