Quantum UK 2015 Conference

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Bringing Together Academia, Government and Industry to examine the future of Quantum Technology

The last week in September saw the first annual meeting of the UK Quantum Technology Hub Network at St John’s College, Oxford.

This Quantum Technology Hub Network was established by the UK government in December 2014, as part of a £270 million national quantum technology programme, to accelerate the translation of quantum technologies to market.

The four Quantum Technology Hubs, led by the universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York, are focused respectively on the quantum applications of sensing, imaging, computing and secure communications.

The conference was a forum to discuss scientific progress, innovations and technical challenges across all these sectors. It was also an opportunity to bring together industrial stakeholders and academic and government researchers, to exchange  ideas, stimulate new projects and form new collaborations.

Nearly 200 people attended the conference, drawn from from academia, government and business.

The event ran over three days and began with an overview of quantum technology strategies from the UK government, the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and Innovate UK, who are the key funders of the Network. Then each of the four Quantum Technology Hubs presented their current research, followed by presentations from key industrial partners, including Lockheed Martin and Toshiba.

The first day closed with a keynote lecture by Peter Knight on “Quantum – from Schrödinger’s Science to new Technology” followed by a dinner in the historic St John’s College Dining Hall.

The second and third days delved into more technical issues surrounding the development of quantum technologies, such as systems engineering and standards. There was an eclectic mix of technical talks covering photonics, trapped ions, cold atoms and solid-state devices, including fascinating talks from Nobel Laureate Bill Phillips and from international leaders in quantum materials, precision sensing and engineering, including Eva Andrei, Andrew Steane, Mark Kasevich and Dana Anderson.

The conference closed with a tour of the Oxford labs in the departments of Physics and Materials.

An industry exhibition and trade show was held throughout the conference, including representatives from 16 companies working in electronics, data, and optics.

The conference hosted many international visitors and presented updates from major quantum technology programmes around the world, including MUSIQC in the US, EQUS in Australia, QuTech in the Netherlands, and PCQC in France. There were also a number of programme managers from US military and government agencies, who were keen to engage with and support the UK activities.

Overall the event served the dual purpose of bringing together scientists and industrial partners from within the UK Quantum Technology Hub Network, and raising the international visibility of the UK programme.

Quantum UK 2015 Conference presentation
Quantum UK 2015 Conference presentation 2
Quantum UK 2015 Conference dinner