UMD is Moving Quantum Technology from Labs to Startups; ‘Quantum Can Be For Us What Silicon Was for San Jose’
(Technical.ly) Last year, the University of Maryland launched the Quantum Technology Center with an aim to attract faculty that specialize in the area, as well as help to galvanize commercialization. It’s a center from which the university can help spur new companies that are building products in these areas. UMD will also be looking to provide resources around early validation, access to equipment and navigating regulations.
“Quantum can be for us what silicon was for San Jose,” said Julie Lenzer, the university’s chief innovation officer. “It’s that big of a platform technology.”
The university invested $5.5 million in the center, and it is located in a campus-adjacent area designed to bring companies, entrepreneurs and university community members together called the Discovery District.
Already, some of the most attention for quantum technology out of College Park these days is coming from a startup. IonQ, which was founded in 2015 by a team that includes JQI faculty member Chris Monroe, is building hardware and software that leverages a particular type of the technology called trapped ion quantum computing. The company turned heads in October when it unveiled a hardware system that it says surpassed capabilities of IBM and Google.
“Quantum is no longer relegated to academia and we are already seeing real-world applications only possible through quantum, such as advances in machine learning,” said IonQ CEO Peter Chapman.
And it is continuing to team with federal partners, such as the Army Research Lab. Walsworth, who has prior involvement in startups out of his own lab, sees particular strengths for the university now not just in computing, but also sensing and imaging, as well as quantum communications, which provide distributed networks and could have additional security.