(KJZZ.org) The University of Arizona has launched its Center for Quantum Networks, supported by a five-year, $26 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
The UA-led consortium comprises Harvard and Yale Universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It will develop technologies to link up quantum devices and study their societal impacts.
When the U.S. Department of Defense funded ARPANET in 1969, no one imagined how the internet would one day transform the world.
“We are at the cusp of the new era of the quantum internet. We are just beginning to connect small quantum computers, quantum-enhanced sensors and other gadgets into quantum networks that transmit quantum bits, or qubits,” said Saikat Guha, director of the Center for Quantum Networks and associate professor of optical sciences at UA.
“We know that quantum networks will be a necessary glue between future quantum computers and quantum sensors. But we don’t know yet what the full power of quantum networks will be. There is still a lot of scientific discovery to do,” said Charlie Tahan of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy.
It also hints at why governments and corporations have begun to take notice.
Linda Blevins, deputy assistant director of the NSF Engineering Directorate, cited research saying U.S. industry will spend $2 billion on quantum computing over the next five years.
“And you can’t have widespread quantum computing without the quantum internet, which is what this center is all about,” she said.