Prisco: Focus on academia, manufacturing and industry to build a quantum-ready workforce
(Forbes) John Prisco, Security CEO and Founder of Safe Quantum Inc., explains the challenges the quantum technology faces in building a qualified workforce. IQT-News summarizes Prisco’s article below:
The U.S. government released a report on the challenges of enticing workers in quantum information science (QIS), citing the obstacles to recruiting these prized employees to often lower-paying federal jobs.
Prisco believes the three most critical areas to focus on for quantum expertise: academia, manufacturing and industry.
Researchers at universities around the world have been leading quantum development. In the United States, the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) is one example of how assertive the U.S. government and academics have been working hand in hand to identify future quantum experts.
The successful adoption of quantum computing will also be dependent on manufacturing capabilities, with foundries and factories critically needed to build quantum equipment, from optical networks and chips to super-chilling and super-heating environments to maintain quantum states.
Funded by the NSF, the Quantum Foundry at the University of California at Santa Barbara is a next-generation materials foundry that develops materials and interfaces that can sustain coherent quantum states.
Initiatives like the Quantum Foundry partner with other researchers and also seek to prepare a quantum-ready workforce and to align with industry to accelerate the development and deployment of quantum technologies.
Industry is the third quantum pillar.
In addition to technology leaders like Google, Honeywell and IBM joining federal quantum initiatives, we are seeing other first-mover advantages from the financial industry. For example, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are among several large financial institutions that have invested in quantum teams to conduct research into practical uses of quantum computers and quantum-based technologies.
Still in its nascent form, however, is venture investment to spur development among smaller commercial entities.
The first venture capital firm to focus exclusively on quantum technologies, French-based Quantonation, has a fund worth 70 million Euros.
In the U.S., early quantum investors include aerospace giant Airbus and In-Q-Tel, a strategic investment firm that looks for partnerships to link emerging technologies, government organizations and business with a focus on security.
The number of quantum experts is already small, estimated by some in the field to be in the hundreds worldwide. Other countries are investing heavily in recruiting and training—the Chinese government, for example, has developed more than 200 recruitment programs.
For the United States to maintain its position at the forefront of quantum innovation, academia, manufacturing and industry must coalesce even more tightly around the opportunities to build the quantum-ready workforce.
Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990. She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.