MIT’s Oliver Discusses Talent Shortage in Quantum Technology & Efforts to Address
(MIT.edu) A shortage of available talent looms as a potential inhibitor of quantum technology’s growth as the technology is beginning to move from theory into practice. In this interview, William D. Oliver, a physics professor of the practice, associate director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, and Lincoln Laboratory Fellow, discusses his concerns about the current quantum computing talent shortage.
Oliver pointed out there’s been a large increase in the number of positions in academia, government, and industry. He referenced the growing number of government programs supporting quantum information processing: The EU has a flagship, China has a substantial effort, as do England, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Sweden, Finland, and many more. The U.S. Congress recently passed the National Quantum Initiative, authorizing more than $1.2 billion investment. Companies are also jumping in.
There are efforts to fill the talent gap. MIT xPRO is addressing the reality that on-campus students aren’t the only people interested in learning about quantum information. We need to educate engineers and physicists who are already in the workforce and have to pivot. There’s a huge talent pool within industry and government today that are shifting over. The same pivot is happening in the US government and in government-funded laboratories, as we’ve done at Lincoln Lab. MIT xPRO’s focus is to help people make that pivot, and to provide a sufficient foundation from which they can self-learn.