UMD's new Quantum Technology Center has an eye toward future tech, jobs - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Aug. 26, 2019 10:10 am

UMD’s new Quantum Technology Center has an eye toward future tech, jobs

The center is launching in College Park with a goal in part to bring research advances "from the lab to the marketplace."
University of Maryland College Park.

University of Maryland College Park.

(Photo by University of Maryland, obtained via Creative Commons license)

The University of Maryland College Park said it is opening a new center focused on translating quantum physics research into new technology products.

With the Quantum Technology Center, UMD is aiming to build on existing research programs and partnerships in quantum science and systems engineering. The center will look to collaborate with industry and government labs to help bring research discoveries “from the lab to the marketplace,” according to the university. It also has a goal of preparing students to enter quantum-related engineering jobs.

“The Quantum Technology Center will add to the University of Maryland’s world-renowned leadership in the quantum fields, including physics, engineering, computer science, and materials research,” said Laurie Locascio, VP for research at UMD, in a statement. “This new center will build on these strengths to develop future quantum technology and new applications, and to train students and researchers in quantum technology.”

The center’s launch brings hiring news: It will be directed by Dr. Ronald Walsworth, who is joining UMD after previously serving on the faculty at Harvard University and as a senior physicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Additionally, the university announced the hiring of physics assistant professors Alicia Kollár and Norbert Linke, as well as electrical and computer engineering assistant professor Cheng Gong. Faculty from departments including physics, computer science, and electrical and computer engineering are joining the center as well.

The center is the latest example of a university centralizing interest and work in a specific field that shows promise for major contributions to new technology.

Quantum research, which refers to studying nature’s smallest possible units on the atomic and subatomic levels, has been associated with physics, but it’s now being applied to building new technology like computing, communication networks and imaging, per the university. For our part, we’ve seen several startups in the region working on quantum computing, including IonQ, which is based in College Park and was cofounded by UMD Professor Christopher Monroe.

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