The workshop brings together experts in quantum networks from around the world
Newswise — The third Quantum Repeaters and Networks Workshop, co-hosted locally by the Q-NEXT Quantum Research Center and the Chicago Quantum Exchange, provides a forum to advance next-generation information technologies.
In the coming decades, we expect quantum computers and new quantum sensors to be distributed worldwide. By harnessing nature’s microscale quantum characteristics, researchers are developing these devices – said to be more powerful and precise than their traditional counterparts – for applications in many fields, including medicine, finance, energy and logistic.
To realize and fully exploit the combined capabilities of quantum technologies, they will need to be connected through a network capable of transmitting and receiving quantum signals – in effect, a quantum version of today’s internet.
The workshop strives to set up sessions on the big questions of quantum networks… We want to update the community of researchers developing theory, components and systems for quantum networks and repeaters and provide a forum – literally a workshop – to inspire and set future directions in the field.” —Thaddeus Ladd, Principal Scientist at HRL Laboratories and Co-Design Engineer at Q-NEXT
The question currently facing experts in quantum technology is: “Which paths should we take to build a quantum information network?”
In August, Q-NEXT and the Chicago Quantum Exchange locally co-hosted the third Quantum Repeaters and Networks (WQRN) Workshop locally at the University of Chicago to address the issue.
Q-NEXT is a US Department of Energy (DOE) National Quantum Information Science Research Center led by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory. The Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) is an intellectual center for advancing quantum information science and engineering within the CQE community, across the Midwest, and around the world.
The meeting was part of the WQRN series, launched in 2015, dedicated to solving scientific, engineering and infrastructure problems in quantum communication and networking.
“The workshop strives to organize sessions on the big questions of quantum networks,” said Thaddeus Ladd, principal scientist at HRL Laboratories, co-design engineer at Q-NEXT and leader of the subcommittee for local organization of the workshop. “We want to update the community of researchers developing theories, components and systems for quantum networks and repeaters and provide a forum – literally a workshop – to inspire and set future directions in the field.”
The development of quantum information networks and repeaters – devices that help sustain quantum signals as they travel from point A to point B – is a priority for Q-NEXT and CQE, as well as scientists and engineers around the world. About 100 researchers from 37 institutions in 13 states and eight foreign countries participated in the workshop.
Unlike larger, broader conferences that only include quantum networks as part of the discussion, the WQRN series is topic-centric, delving into issues specific to quantum information transmission. The workshop is designed to engage both presenters and attendees in a conversation that advances the state of research.
The previous WQRN meeting was in 2017, and after five years and a pandemic that put research conferences on hold, the August forum was a welcome opportunity to reconnect.
“It’s harder to keep up when you only see alerts for new articles published each week. It’s much better when someone is presenting a talk,” said Tim Spiller, a professor of quantum technologies at the University of York and one of the workshop presenters. “For me, it was nice to see the real progress. It was a very useful update on what is happening in the world.
The pressing issues facing quantum information researchers today were reflected in the overlapping topics in the workshop: current quantum communication efforts around the world, theory and measurements, repeater components and quantum networks, and scaling up the technology.
“Quantum networks are in an interesting place as a technology: they are attracting significant interest and funding around the world, yet it is still unclear what critical application needs they are best suited to satisfy” , Ladd said.
And that’s the challenge: both to seize the potential of technology, to anticipate its applications and to develop it towards concrete uses — and to do so in a way that satisfies a global community of users.
“The workshop had an element of strategy, discussions about how research is done, not just technical work that is pursued,” Spiller said.
It was a well-balanced meeting, bringing together experts in quantum theory and quantum experimenters, as well as more experienced researchers and early-career scientists.
The weekend workshop was preceded by a half-day tutorial on quantum networks taught by Rodney Van Meter of Keio University. The courseware was designed to educate experts in traditional information networks on the latest advances in quantum information R&D.
“I don’t know of any other event like this with an international scope in the specific area of repeaters and quantum networks,” Ladd said. “Good science cannot happen in a vacuum. Practitioners need to interact and get direct feedback from their peers, in any field. This type of interaction was active and lively throughout the event.
The next WQRN will take place in 2024.
“One of the core missions of Q-NEXT and CQE is to promote national and international research in quantum communication, which means connecting to both achievements and the work that remains to be done. The WQRN workshop was an opportunity to do just that,” said David Awschalom, Director of Q-NEXT and CQE, Principal Scientist at Argonne and Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering and Vice Dean of research and infrastructure at the Pritzker School of the University of Chicago. of Molecular Engineering. “It’s fair to say that almost all of the participants learned something that will influence the direction of their research. I expect many of us will be able to attribute future advances in research to our interactions at this valuable workshop. »