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Wits to Coordinate South Africa’s National Quantum Initiative

By IQT News posted 15 Sep 2021

(WITS.ResearchNews) Wits University today announced it has successfully secured R8 million in seed funding from the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) towards implementing Phase 1 on behalf of the South African Quantum Technology Initiative (SA QuTI).
Wits University has a unique quantum advantage through its partnership with IBM Research by becoming the first African partner on the IBM Q Network and has access to its 50 qubit quantum computer.
Approved by the DSI earlier this year, the SA QuTI is a national undertaking that seeks to create the conditions in South Africa for a globally competitive research environment in quantum technologies and to grow the local quantum technology industry.
Wits University, a leading quantum research institute in Africa through its newly formed WitsQ initiative, is the official host of the SA QuTI and will administer and manage the funds. It will also coordinate the implementation of the SA QuTI.
“The objective is to move South Africa into a quantum future where government, industry and academia work together for the development and deployment of quantum technologies,” says Distinguished Professor Andrew Forbes, Director of WitsQ and Director of the Structured Light Laboratory in the Wits School of Physics.
“It is a very exciting time to be in quantum, and I believe that Wits has an important role to play in this field. We are regarded as world leaders in high-dimensional entanglement, we have unique experimental facilities, and our WitsQ initiative is home to an enthusiastic quantum community that has no traditional discipline boundaries,” he adds.
Dr Robin Drennan, Director for Research Development in the University’s Research Office, says Wits is proud to act as a host for the SA QuTI and looking forward to working with all the partners from several universities and research institutes across the country that are part of this national initiative.
“This initial grant from the DSI is received with deep gratitude. Quantum technologies offer a new frontier of research and innovation, and this grant shows a clear and confident vision expressed by the Department.”
“It is so important to support the existing research efforts in this budding area to ensure that South Africa remains competitive in these areas of endeavour. It will of course also add impetus to Wits’ efforts in the field of quantum technologies and our access to a 50 qubit quantum computer,” says Drennan.

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