Washington state offers one of America's best opportunities to push the frontiers of quantum computing, but the frontiers are so strange and new that their potential is hard to assess, according to a new report.
The Washington State Quantum Information Technology Landscape Report was prepared by Moonbeam analysts for the Washington Technology Industry Association's Advanced Technology Group and presented by the WTIA this week at the University of Washington in conjunction with the Northwest Quantum Nexus Summit. .
Joining the Northwest Quantum Nexus, established in 2019, demonstrates why the region is well positioned to play a leading role in the quantum revolution.
NQN's partners include Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, which offer cloud-based quantum computing platforms. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which is working on several quantum applications for national security purposes; Major research institutions including UW and Washington State University.
"This report confirms that Washington State has the right mix of organizations and capabilities to ensure Washington State is a global leader in quantum applications and business," the executive director said in a statement. hurry. WTIA, Michael Schützler. Exit
But the report says tech companies in the state aren't taking full advantage of local talent.
"Washington State is training more people in the field of quantum physics than it can hire," Moonbeam CEO Nirav Desa told conference attendees today. "It's no surprise that you're in a whole new region, but here graduates from our first institutions are working in other regions."
The report notes that 50% of students enrolled in the quantum computing program are foreign nationals, and many of these students have difficulty obtaining work visas in Washington State.
Funding for research and development is also mixed.
“Washington State is doing a great job attracting grants,” said Nick Ellingson, WTIA Chief Product Officer and Startup Ambassador. “The University of Washington was huge. WSU has also been successful in attracting grants for quantum research. But Washington State sometimes lacks representation in investments that help startups.
Ellingson said startups in the state that aren't eligible for entrepreneur participation in their ventures should be eligible for additional forms of assistance. Examples are the federal government's small business innovation research and small business technology transfer programs.
He pointed to a circle around Seattle on a map showing the distribution of federal grants related to quantum technology.
"Given Washington state's position in the world in terms of the creative economy, that circle is very small," Ellingson said. "When we talk to founders and entrepreneurs in this ecosystem, very few of them are aware of the opportunities that exist to support technology marketing. That's why it's so important to help them understand."
Another challenge is helping the wider technical community understand quantum computing. And not just because the fuzzy quantum world of layering and entanglement is so foreign to the well-understood world of zeros and zeros of classical computing. It can be hard to imagine that quantum technologies will take another decade to reach full maturity.
"We are currently working with NQN to develop a 'Quantum 101' for investors and decision makers," Ellingson said.
Ellingson recommended startup acceleration and mentorship programs for quantum computing companies in the Pacific Northwest, as well as meetings that facilitate connections with other tech clusters.
“We know that we have to bring together the different actors in the region, declared the director general, but we, as a cluster, believe that we can play a role by involving other clusters and people outside the region, both both nationally and internationally. We're here to have those discussions."
Such a relationship could help Washington State's tech community better explore the quantum computing market, a global market that is expected to grow from $10 billion in 2022 to $125 billion in 2030, according to preliminary research. .
For what it's worth, the WTIA report does not include a similar estimate of market size or Washington state share. "We tried to do that," Ellingson said. "It's very 'early days' so we're not comfortable with the numbers."
It is perhaps fair that the economic prospects of quantum computing are as dubious as a live cat and a dead cat.