Greek American, John Martinis, to lead Australia’s quantum computer future

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Australia has raced to the forefront of the development of quantum computers, snaring arguably­ the world‘s leading ­researcher in the field – Greek American Professor John Martinis.

Professor John Martinis previously led a Google team that gained world acclaim after demonstrating the power of quant­um computers to outperform clas­sical computers, an exercise known as “quantum suprem­acy.”

He will join forces with Aust­ralian technology start-up, Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC), which was founded by Professor Michelle Simmons AO from the University of NSW in 2017.

Their main aim is to accelerate the development of a commercial quantum computer.

Professor John Martinis previously led a Google team.

“I’m hugely excited to join the team at SQC,” Professor Martinis said about the announcement.

“Building a quantum computer is my lifelong ambition. If we can build one successfully at scale, it will be a transformational achievement with tremendous impact for humankind.

“I chose to come to SQC because of the promise of the unique approach in fabrication at the atomic level. No one else in the world can do what these guys are capable of.”

Speaking after two weeks in quarantine, Professor Martinis also told The Australian that Professor Simmons invited him to join SQC after he left Google in April.

“Her proposal was the most interesting one for me,” he told the media outlet, adding that the immediate goal was to build a quantum computer by 2023.

Over the past decade, Professor Simmons and her team have delivered a series of impressive technical milestones, including their recent demonstration of the fastest two qubit (quantum building blocks) gate.

“Professor Martinis’ track record of success and intense focus on building a commercially useful quantum computer aligns with our goals at SQC,” Professor Simmons said.

“We have developed atomically-precise fabrication techniques that are uniquely suited to building a quantum computer. SQC is focusing on scaling up its technology platform.

“This is exactly what John did at Google. We are delighted that he has chosen SQC and Australia for his next move.”

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