Rob Thompson
Rob Thompson, associate vice-president (research) at UCalgary, speaks at qConnect. Quantum City photos

Nov. 29, 2023

Quantum City Challenge: Quantum experts from around the world invited to work on 3 problems specific to Alberta

Global computing competition, open until March 2024, unveiled at sold-out inaugural qConnect summit

A sold-out event and the launch of a quantum computing challenge were highlights of the inaugural qConnect summit, drawing participants from across North America and Europe. Hosted by Quantum City and The Quantum Major Innovation Fund Project (QMP), qConnect 2023 was a chance for quantum creators and users to connect, while showcasing UCalgary and the province of Alberta’s dedication to quantum adoption and commercialization.

Quantum City managing director Megan Lee.

Quantum City managing director Megan Lee.

Minister Matt Jones

Minister Matt Jones addresses the audience at qConnect 2023.

Matt Jones, Alberta’s minister of jobs, economy, and trade attended the November 2023 summit at the Telus Convention Centre. In his address, he shed light on the thriving tech sector in Calgary and Alberta, emphasizing recent investments in groundbreaking initiatives like Quantum City, a hub dedicated to building Alberta's quantum ecosystem and creating pathways for the widespread adoption of quantum technologies. The initiative is a collaboration with the University of Calgary, the Government of Alberta and the first industry partner, global IT firm Mphasis.

Appearing via video at qConnect 2023, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted the summit's purpose: to develop quantum applications propelling Canada to global leadership in these advanced technologies.

“This is a fast-growing field, and if we want Canada to remain well positioned within it, we need to continue to support the work you do,” said Trudeau, addressing the audience of over 300 quantum experts, industry representatives, students, and public servants.

Global quantum problem-solving competition

An integral part of qConnect 2023 was the launch of the Quantum City Challenge, a global quantum computing competition addressing complex problems in the energy industry. Partnering with Alberta energy leaders ATCO and Canadian Natural, the challenge posed three problem statements for quantum experts and enthusiasts from around the world: EV charging optimization; tailings treatment; and bitumen viscosity for transportation effectiveness.

The challenge, open until March 2024, will demonstrate the readiness of quantum technologies specific to industry in Alberta and showcasing the potential to solve real-world challenges.

Rob Thompson and Urbasi Sinha

Rob Thompson and Urbasi Sinha.

UCalgary’s quantum leadership

For decades, the University of Calgary has been at the forefront of quantum research and discovery, evolving into a thriving hub for scientific innovation, and strategically transitioning into a global leader in quantum research and technology commercialization.

The recent faculty additions include Dr. Urbasi Sinha, PhD, a distinguished Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in quantum photonics. This strategic addition underscores the ongoing commitment and substantial investment in achieving research excellence within the realm of quantum technologies.

“As Quantum City paves the way for a vibrant quantum ecosystem, events like qConnect 2023 drive our university and the entire nation into the forefront of quantum technology adoption, shaping the future of scientific exploration and industry collaboration. Quantum City represents not only a commitment to pushing the boundaries of quantum research but also a strategic leap towards transforming groundbreaking ideas into tangible advancements,” says Dr. Robert Thompson, associate vice-president (research).

Quantum revolution continues

Quantum — exploring the manipulation of the very small for technological applications — has already given rise to transformative technologies like lasers and MRI machines. The imminent second generation of quantum tech promises breakthroughs in health-care detection, radar technology, cryptography, and more.

Looking ahead, qConnect 2024 is already on the horizon, scheduled for Oct. 2 to 3, 2024 in Calgary. Building on the success of qConnect 2023, the upcoming summit aims to further leverage achievements, fostering collaboration and innovation as it advances toward the goal of building a robust quantum ecosystem in Alberta.

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